First Lady Celebrates NLW and Campaign Launch

Contact:  Megan Humphrey
312-280-4020
mhumphrey@ala.org

For Immediate Release
April 2001

First Lady Laura Bush, American Library Association celebrate National Library Week and launch The Campaign for America's Libraries

Washington, D.C. — In celebration of National Library Week, First Lady Laura Bush, Baltimore Oriole All-Star Shortstop Mike Bordick and the American Library Association (ALA) gathered today at the Northeast Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C., to encourage America to discover — and re-discover — the richness and diversity of today's libraries.

"National Library Week is a great time to remind people about the value of a free library card," says Mrs. Bush, a former librarian. "Libraries are community treasure chests, loaded with a wealth of information available to everyone, equally, and the key to that treasure chest is a library card."

Following the First Lady's remarks, the ALA unveiled @ your library™, The Campaign for America's Libraries, a five-year educational initiative designed to speak loudly and clearly about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century. The campaign showcases the unique and vital roles played by public, school, academic and special libraries in our communities.

"I can't think of a better person to help launch this major public education initiative than our nation's First Lady and our nation's first librarian in the White House," ALA President. Nancy Kranich says. "Her unwavering commitment to education and libraries will give this launch the visibility it needs to make it a success."

Major League Baseball (MLB) also has pledged to participate in the campaign. Discussions are currently underway regarding the role that MLB will play. Bordick, along with his family, participated in today's event. 3M Library Systems is a founding partner of the Campaign for America's Libraries.

The kickoff event, which included demonstrations of high-tech library learning stations and Mrs. Bush signing up for a new library card, was designed to introduce the campaign and begin the process of reminding the public that libraries are dynamic, modern community centers for education, information and entertainment. It also highlighted the campaign's key messages: libraries are changing and dynamic; libraries are places of opportunity; libraries bring you the world.

ALA leaders, members of the Washington, D.C., library community, students, senior citizens and others are attended today's festivities.

During National Library Week, libraries of all types are also holding programs and events to introduce the @ your library theme to the public and showcase both new and traditional library services. Many have selected local campaign chairs and are honoring them with an @ your library card. National Library Week programs include such topics as "Discover the world @ your library" (North Dakota State Library, Fargo, N.D.); "Local authors @ your library" (Waverly Public Library, Waverly, Iowa); "Information to go @ your library" (Durham County Library, Durham, N.C.); "Family time @ your library" (Missoula Public Library, Missoula, Mont.); "Chocolate @ your library" (Council Rock School District, Holland, Penn.).

As a result of ALA's outreach efforts, libraries in all 50 states are participating in the campaign. They represent public, school, academic and special libraries, as well as state library agencies.

Libraries that are participating in the campaign but have not yet registered, can do so by logging on to the campaign Web site at www.ala.org/@yourlibrary and clicking on "Register Now." Libraries can also join an e-mail newsletter to receive campaign news and updates. Suggestions on how to use the logo, talking points, ideas for ongoing programming, downloadable logos and artwork are among the online tools available.

Libraries are urged to send a brief summary of National Library Week/campaign kickoff activities and sample materials to: Sara Groves, ALA Public Information Office, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. Or e-mail the campaign at: atyourlibrary@ala.org. Please include contact information for your library or organization.