Teens race for finish by entering national reading program developed by ALA, HERSHEY®'S Milk

Contact: Megan Humphrey
Stephanie Coggin

For Immediate Release
November 2002

Teens race for finish by entering national reading program developed by ALA, HERSHEY®'S Milk

Drive to Read @ your library™ winners to join NASCAR driver Ward Burton, 2002 Daytona 500 winner, in Miami next spring

DALLAS (November 13, 2002) - Today the American Library Association (ALA) and HERSHEY'S Milk nationally launched year two of Drive to Read @ your library TM . With NASCAR driver Ward Burton at the wheel, the program is designed to ignite interest in reading among America's teens and drive them into libraries.

According to the most recent reading survey and test scores gathered from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), reading scores have made no significant statistical gains since the 1970s. The report also suggests that a smaller percentage of 13- to 17-year-olds read daily for fun today than in 1971. Drive to Read @ your library encourages young adults nationwide to discover the value of libraries, to check out and read books for knowledge and entertainment, and to discover how books bring a world of opportunity to today's teens.

"Drive to Read @ your library is a great program that rewards teens for excellence in knowledge, character and creativity," said Ward Burton. "I'm looking forward to another great year, and fully support this effort to encourage teens to be more involved."

The Drive to Read @ your library program calls for teens to read one of the "2002 Best Books for Young Adults," which are selected by librarians through the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the ALA. Teens are then encouraged to submit an entry on a favorite literary hero through essay, monologue, poem, mural, video or other creative means. A jury of YALSA members and teens will choose the winner(s) next April. The Best Books list can be found at: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists/bbya/2002bestbooks.html.

"Today's teens are looking for inspiration in their lives. Young adult literature is full of wonderful heroes who inspire and excite and offer meaning to an age group often defined by new challenges and change," said ALA President Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman. "The Drive to Read program encourages teens to read for the fun of it by identifying with these characters, and at the same time, discovering all the resources libraries have available specifically for them."

Teens can work alone or in teams of up to four, but they need to check in with their school or public librarian to ask him/her to sponsor the contest entry. The lucky teen or team and the sponsoring librarian will win a trip to Miami in spring 2003 to meet program spokesperson Ward Burton and enjoy a weekend at the beach. For all of the program details, interested teens should race to www.hersheysmilk.com.

"Last year, Drive to Read @ your library exceeded all of our expectations for success, and we wanted to continue our commitment to building healthy minds and bodies. As we move into this year, we will involve more teens, libraries and schools," said Bing Graffunder, president and COO of Morningstar Foods Inc., which produces and distributes HERSHEY'S Milk under license from Hershey Foods Corporation. "By partnering with the American Library Association and working with libraries throughout the country, HERSHEY'S Milk is fueling the imagination of teens through reading."

Drive to Read @ your library is part of @ your library™, The Campaign for America's Libraries, a multi-year public education effort sponsored by the ALA to speak loudly and clearly about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century. Morningstar Foods Inc., a subsidiary of Dean Foods Company, is the producer and distributor of HERSHEY'S Milk and a founding partner in The Campaign for America's Libraries.

For more information of the campaign, visit www.ala.org/@yourlibrary.