Join the Major Leagues Launch

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

For Immediate Release
April 2002

"Join the Major Leagues @ your library™": ALA and Major League Baseball launch grand-slam partnership to promote 21st century literacy

All-Star Game prize package to be awarded for best library promotion

The American Library Association (ALA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) hope L.A. Dodgers fans, as well as fans across the country, will add a new phrase to their repertoire of baseball lingo this season: 21st Century Literacy.

Today, ALA and MLB officially kick off “Join the Major Leagues @ your library™” (formerly known as Hit a Home Run @ your library) at the Culver City Julian Dixon branch of the County of Los Angeles Public Library and Dodgers Stadium. Join the Major Leagues @ your library is part of The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ALA’s five-year public education effort to speak loudly and clearly about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century.

The goal of the nationwide program is to develop 21st century literacy skills of young and old alike, ensuring their success in today’s ever-changing information age. To be literate in the 21st century, Americans need to “step up to the plate” with more than just reading skills, including:

  • Learning how to use computers and other media;
  • Learning how to find, evaluate and use information; and
  • Learning how to use information to communicate.

Batter Up for 21st Century Literacy

LA Dodgers outfielder Dave Roberts and shortstop Alex Cora will be at the Culver City Julian Dixon Public Library today to help local fifth-graders be the first to play the “Join the Major Leagues @ your library” online national contest. Players that successfully complete the game are entered to win a trip for two to the 2002 World Series.

“Whether you’re job hunting, drafting your thesis or researching baseball stats, all the resources you need are available at your library,” says ALA President John W. Berry. “And most importantly, librarians—highly qualified, skilled professionals—can guide and teach you how to navigate the overwhelming amounts of information at your fingertips.”

The “Join the Major Leagues @ your library” program also will be unveiled by Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s daughter, and Dodger first baseman Eric Karros at the Dodger vs. Mets game later this evening. During the pre-game announcement, the new program logo will be displayed on the Jumbotron.
The centerpiece of the “Join the Major Leagues @ your library” program is a national contest designed to promote 21st century literacy skills and to increase awareness of local libraries as an essential information resource and librarians as the “ultimate search engine.” As part of the contest, open from May 14-September 30, players are instructed to download an online “play book” filled with four categories of baseball questions that vary in difficulty and information literacy skill level. The playbook can be found on a brand new Web site located at: www.ala.org/@yourlibrary/jointhemajorleagues. The site can also be accessed from the Major League Baseball site at www.mlb.com under Official Info/MLB in the Community. Click on Community Programs.

From the Internet and the electronic catalog to other key research tools applicable to daily life, players must use library resources to answer four questions (one for each base on the baseball diamond) to be entered in a national drawing for a trip for two to the 2002 World Series. The grand prize will be divided into two age groups—two tickets for kids, ages 6-12, and two tickets for ages 13 and above. Ten first-prize packages for each age group include a copy of the book Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson’s Values to Live By, a baseball T-shirt and a Jackie Robinson poster from ALA Graphics.

Play Ball and Win a Trip to the All-Star Game

Librarians also have an opportunity to win great prizes. There will be a one grand prize for the librarian who coordinates the most compelling local promotion in connection with the Join the Major Leagues @ your library program. The prize includes:

  • Two tickets to the Radio Shack All-Star Sunday® in Milwaukee on July 7, 2002
  • Two tickets to the John Hancock All-Star FanFest® in Milwaukee on July 8, 2002
  • Two tickets to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game® at Miller Park in Milwaukee on July 9, 2002
  • Event with Sharon Robinson at her/his local library

Entries must include two photos of a display promoting the program; a one-page (maximum) overview of local “launch” activities related to the program implemented prior to the submission of the entry; sample publicity materials including, but not limited to brochures, flyers, posters, etc.; and a narrative describing additional programming elements to follow in June-September 2002. Official entry forms must be submitted to Join the Major Leagues @ your library, Librarian All-Star Contest, P.O. Box 118070, Chicago, IL 60611 by June 14. Official contest rules for librarians and an entry form can be found at www.ala.org/@yourlibrary/jointhemajorleagues.

Libraries also are encouraged to develop programming related to the Join the Major Leagues @ your library initiative. Programming suggestions, sample press materials, baseball resources (including books, films and Web sites) and 21st century literacy materials are available on the Web site.

Major League Baseball is the latest founding partner of The Campaign for America's Libraries. Other founding partners include 3M Library Systems; Center for the Book in the Library of Congress; International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA); Morningstar Foods, Inc., maker of Hershey's Milk; Woman's Day magazine and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.