April 15, 2002 America's Library Web Site for Children and Families Reaches 250 Million 'Hits'

Milestone Attained in Two Years

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Library of Congress's Web site for children and families, America's Library (www.americaslibrary.gov), has handled more than 250 million "hits" in the two years since it went online.

The Web site, which debuted on the 200th birthday of the Library, April 24, 2000, is now averaging more than 24 million "hits" per month.

"We are extremely gratified that this major educational outreach program of the Library of Congress has been so widely used and enthusiastically accepted by our nation's youth," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Through its interactive and colorful pages, this Web site brings alive important materials from the American historical collections of the Library."

The site is in five sections and offers more than 4,500 items from the Library's collections:

"Meet Amazing Americans" introduces kids to some two dozen of the nation's most fascinating historical figures, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Edison, Amelia Earhart, Harry Houdini and Frank Lloyd Wright. It also offers "Scavenger Hunt" and "Dynamite Presidents" games that encourage users to explore the Web site while learning about America's presidents. For example, players of "Dynamite Presidents" will learn that Thomas Jefferson is famous not only for writing the Declaration of Independence but also for selling his personal Library to the Library of Congress.

"Jump Back in Time" lets users learn what happened on any day in history. The section also asks users to become a "Super Sleuth" as they identify "what's wrong with this picture." At first glance, nothing seems wrong with a photo of Calvin Coolidge -- until one notices that he is holding a cell phone.

"Explore the States" provides interesting facts and stories about each of the states and the District of Columbia. A "Treasure Hunt" encourages kids to explore and discover little-known facts. Even more can be learned about the states by reading the more than 260 new stories called Local Legacies, which reflect the unique cultural traditions of the nation.

"Join America at Play" wants users to "play ball" in the "Batter Up" game. The "pitcher" blows a bubble gum balloon, winds up and asks "On Opening Day of the 1916 Major League Baseball season, who threw the first ball?" The user finds out that President Woodrow Wilson made that historic pitch.

"See, Hear & Sing" makes many of the Library's multimedia collections of sound and audio available. A "Jammin' Jukebox" lets kids hear such popular tunes of the past as "Over There." While listening, they will learn that the composer, George M. Cohan, also wrote the patriotic "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "You're a Grand Old Flag."

Lists of related books encourage children to read more about what they have learned. The lists were complied by the Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook) in the Library of Congress. The center's current reading promotion campaign is "Telling America's Stories."

America's Library is a project of the Public Affairs Office and National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress and was designed by 415 Inc. of San Francisco. The site draws upon the flagship American Memory collections (www.loc.gov), which offer more than 7.5 million important historical items, in collaboration with other institutions. More than 100 American Memory collections are available in topics ranging from presidential papers and photographs from the Civil War, to early films of Thomas Edison and panoramic maps, to documents from the women's suffrage and civil rights movements.

America's Library marks the first time in its history that the Library of Congress has created a public service advertising campaign in partnership with the Ad Council. This campaign - - "There Is a Better Way to Have Fun with History ... Log On. Play Around. Learn Something" -- was produced through the Ad Council, with creative services donated by DDB Chicago. The spots have been distributed to 3,200 television stations and more than 6,000 radio stations nationwide. DDB won the silver award in the Non-Profit/Pro Bono/Public Service category of the New York American Marketing Association's 2001 EFFIE Awards for these spots. To date, the site has received an estimated $63 million in free advertising support on television, radio and the Internet.

The Ad Council is a private, nonprofit organization that has been the leading producer of public service communications programs in the United States since 1942. The Council supports campaigns that benefit children, families and communities. Its communications programs are national in scope and have generated strong, measurable results. Ad Council campaigns, such as "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk," "Take a Bite Out of Crime" and "A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste," have helped to educate the public about issues and concerns of the day.

DDB Chicago is the largest of the DDB agencies worldwide, with more than 725 employees and 2000 billings of $1.5 billion. It is one of the world's most awarded agencies, in terms of creativity and effectiveness. The agency works for a strong roster of blue-chip clients, including Anheuser-Busch, McDonald's, Dell, State Farm, FTD, JCPenney, Unilever, QWEST Communications and Wrigley.

415 Inc. is an interactive design firm headquartered in San Francisco. From Fortune 500 enterprises to internationally recognized cultural institutions, 415's clients include 3Com, Credit Suisse, Intel, KQED, Levi Strauss & Co., McGraw-Hill, Macromedia, Providian Financial, Robert Mondavi Wineries, the San Francisco Symphony and the Seattle Symphony.


PR 02-053
ISSN 0731-3527