April 4, 2006 Library of Congress Joins with Ad Council, Walt Disney Pictures/Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Walden Media to Promote Lifelong Literacy

New Spots Feature Characters and Scenes from "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" Motion Picture

Contact: John Sayers, Library of Congress (202) 707-9216 | Ad Council Press Office (212) 984-1964 | Chris Bess, Buena Vista Home Entertainment (818) 295-5250

The Library of Congress, the Advertising Council and Buena Vista Home Entertainment joined today to launch a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to encourage children and families to become engaged in reading and all other forms of literacy. Created pro bono by Disney, the new campaign features scenes and characters from the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” The launch coincides with Literacy Awareness Week (April 3-7), National Library Week (April 2-8) and the release of the movie’s DVD on April 4.

According to the National Institute for Literacy, success in school -- and life -- starts with literacy. When children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond. However, a U.S. Department of Education study found that from 1983 to 1999, more than 10 million Americans reached the 12th grade without having learned to read at a “basic” level, and research shows this trend begins much earlier in life. Results from the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress Reading Test found that 36 percent of American fourth-graders read below the “basic” level. In addition, the NAEP Reading Test revealed that while 45 percent of U.S. fourth-graders say they read for fun on a daily basis, only 19 percent of eighth-graders read for fun every day.

In an effort to inspire more children and their families to find their passion in literacy and learning, the Ad Council and the Library of Congress have changed the focus of their continuing PSA campaign to focus on lifelong literacy. First launched in 2000, previous advertising for the campaign encouraged children and adults to learn about U.S. history. The new PSAs, which aim to reach children in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades and their parents, focus on engaging children and families in all forms of literacy, whether it is reading a book or magazine, studying history, visiting a museum or simply using their imagination.

As a result of Disney’s pro bono collaboration on this campaign, the new television spots use feature scenes from the film “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” to show children and families that there are amazing possibilities when they open their minds to reading. To view the PSAs, visit www.loc.gov/literacy/.

“This new initiative with our longtime partners at the Ad Council and our new partners at Disney will help us fulfill our goal of promoting lifelong literacy,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “This effort joins our successful National Book Festival, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Center for the Book, Poet Laureate program and popular Web sites in promoting the joy of reading.”

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Library of Congress and join with Buena Vista Home Entertainment in this engaging and important campaign,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Advertising Council. “The Ad Council is committed to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. These PSAs will show children that literacy, in all its forms, will open countless doors and enrich their lives in so many ways.”

All of the PSAs direct children and parents to visit the Library of Congress’ Web site, www.loc.gov, for discovery, learning and family fun. The Web site provides children and families with a multimedia, interactive learning experience to enhance their literacy.

“When children become good readers at an early age, they are more likely to become better students throughout their school years and beyond,” said Bob Chapek, president of Buena Vista Home Entertainment. “Buena Vista Home Entrainment is proud to take part in this fun and important campaign and it is our hope that this will inspire children and parents to find their passion in literacy and learning.”

The new TV and radio spots are being distributed to stations nationwide next week. The PSAs will run during media-donated airtime. Since its launch in November 2000, the Ad Council’s PSA campaign with the Library of Congress has received approximately $192 million in donated time and space from the media.

The Library of Congress is many things: the research arm of Congress, the Copyright Office of the United States, the national library for the blind and physically handicapped, the home of the Poet Laureate, the nation’s largest digital library and the world’s largest library. It contains more than 130 million items in nearly every language and format – from ancient Chinese woodblock prints to compact discs. Founded in 1800 to serve the reference needs of Congress, the Library has grown into an unparalleled treasure house of knowledge and creativity.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc., is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax, Dimension and Buena Vista videocassettes and DVDs. To find out more about “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” visit online at http://www.disney.com/.

The Ad Council is a private, nonprofit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org.

NOTE: "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Narnia" and all book titles, characters and locales original thereto are trademarks of C.S. Lewis Pte Ltd. and are used with permission. © Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Walden Media, LLC. All rights reserved.


PR 06-071
ISSN 0731-3527