April 17, 2012 Library of Congress, Ad Council Team Up with Reading is Fundamental to Launch PSA Campaign to Encourage Parents to Read to Their Children

New PSAs feature famous children’s book characters and original song produced by The Roots

Press Contact: John Sayers, Library of Congress, (202) 707-9216 | Lisa Cullen, The Ad Council, (202) 331-5052

Research shows that 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. In a nationwide effort to communicate to parents the importance of reading to their school-aged children, the Library of Congress and the Ad Council have teamed up with Reading is Fundamental (RIF) to launch a new national public service advertising (PSA) campaign, “Book People Unite.”

Created by advertising agency Mother New York, the new television, print, outdoor and digital PSAs feature a medley of notable book characters, including Pinocchio, Madeline, Humpty Dumpty, Curious George and Raggedy Ann and Andy coming together to encourage parents to “Read to a child today and spark a lifetime of ambition.” The original song in the television PSA was produced by Grammy award-winning band The Roots. Celebrity vocalists Jack Black, Chris Martin (Coldplay), John Legend, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Jason Schwartzman, Consequence, Regina Spektor, Nate Ruess (fun.), Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia) and Melanie Fiona lend their voices to the song.

“The Library of Congress is so pleased to continue its longstanding collaboration with the Ad Council and to join this effort with RIF,” said Gayle Osterberg, director of communications at the Library of Congress. “As America’s oldest cultural institution, the Library encourages the use and enjoyment of our nation’s creativity and knowledge. We hope this entertaining campaign – combining beloved children’s book characters and world-renowned musical talent – inspires families to establish a lifelong love of reading.”

All of the PSAs direct audiences to a new campaign micro-site, www.BookPeopleUnite.org, where they can join the Book People Unite movement by taking the pledge to love reading and declare themselves a “book person.” Each person who pledges will receive a free download of the song featured in the PSA. The site also features access to Library of Congress and RIF’s respective websites where people can find great tips and advice for reading with their children.

“For more than 12 years we have partnered with the Library of Congress to promote literacy in all types of learning,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Our new campaign with RIF, featuring many of the notable book characters we all grew up with, will encourage parents to establish positive reading practices with their children. We hope that families will understand that reading is fun. All it takes is a few minutes a day to inspire your children to become lifelong readers.”

The characters in the television PSA were brought to life through specially crafted puppets by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and Curious Pictures created the animated characters. Additionally Emmy award-winning actor LeVar Burton makes a special cameo in the television PSA and talks about why he is a book person in one of the radio PSAs.

“One book can spark a lifetime of ambition, and we are asking the nation to join us in igniting a culture of reading where all kids can explore, dream and achieve,” said Carol Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. “This PSA is part of our campaign to unite a community of people who believe in the transformative power of books and are committed to this critical cause. Together, we can realize our vision of a literate America.”

“We can all point to one or many books that fueled our childhood adventures. Without RIF these windows of adventure that books open every day may close to those most in need. We were astonished when we heard from RIF that in some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the US there is only one book available for every 300 children,” said Phil Graham, Co-Head of Strategy of Mother New York. “We hope that this campaign will spark a reading revolution in America and a greater recognition on the vital role books play in kick-starting children to a lifetime of literacy.”

Since 2000, the Ad Council has partnered with the Library of Congress on a national Reading campaign. The campaign targets children aged 8 to 12 in an effort to inspire fun and promote literacy in all types of learning, including reading books, magazines and cartoons, online and interactive tools, visiting museums, creating music and using one’s imagination. To date, the campaign has received more than $388 million in donated media support.

The PSAs will be distributed to media outlets nationwide this week and will run and air in advertising time that is donated by the media.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to advance the knowledge and creativity of the American people through its collections, programs, and services. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov. The Library of Congress is the home of the Center for the Book, a major national force for reading and literacy promotion and sponsor of the award-winning Read.gov website and National Book Festival each September in Washington, D.C.

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit 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.

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) delivers free books and literacy resources to children and families in underserved communities in the United States. By giving children the opportunity to own a book, RIF inspires them to become lifelong readers and achieve their full potential. As the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, RIF has placed 400 million books in the hands of more than 35 million children since it was established in 1966. Learn more and help RIF provide books to kids who need them most, visit www.RIF.org.


PR 12-083
ISSN 0731-3527