St. Louis student wins grand prize trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in American Library Association's “Step Up to the Plate” contest

Contact: Megan McFarlane
Campaign Coordinator
mmcfarlane@ala.org
For Immediate Release
October 9, 2007

St. Louis student wins grand prize trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in American Library Association’s "Step Up to the Plate" contest

Lena Juniper Elementary School library brings in most entries

In a random drawing at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Saturday afternoon, Oct. 6, Hall of Famer and "Step Up to the Plate" spokesperson Ozzie Smith chose Hannah Cavanaugh, age 12, as the grand-prize winner of the "Step Up to the Plate @ your library" program. Hall of Famers Robin Roberts and Phil Niekro also took part in the ceremony.

Cavanaugh, along with a parent, will travel to Cooperstown, N.Y., to attend the Hall of Fame’s World Series Gala on October 27. The gala is an annual event to bring the community together to watch the World Series. Cavanaugh will also receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum.

Developed by the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, "Step Up to the Plate @ your library" teams up two of America’s favorite pastimes – baseball and libraries – to encourage reading. Children and young adults were encouraged to visit their local library check out a baseball book and write about how their favorite character inspired them.

Cavanaugh read the book Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Alder. Hannah chose to write about Lou Gehrig, who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), like her uncle. She wrote that Gehrig inspired her because "he never gave up even in the hardest times."

Cavanaugh is a volunteer at the Kirkwood (Mo.) Public Library, which promoted the program by decorating the hallway to the children’s section as a stadium and creating a display of baseball books.

Runners-up prizes were also awarded. Prizes included: a commemorative hardbound copy of "The Hall of Fame Yearbook;" Hall of Fame t-shirt; commemorative set of 20 Hall of Fame Baseball cards; DVD copy of the classic baseball movie, "The Sandlot" and more.

Libraries were also awarded for their participation. Lena Juniper Elementary School library in Sparks, Nev., received a $100 bookstore gift certificate and a copy of Lawrence Hogan’s "Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball" (Published by National Geographic) for sending in the most essays.

A self-professed "huge baseball fan," librarian Margie Picone introduced "Step Up to the Plate" to her library classes and worked with sixth-grade teachers to promote the program. She even transformed her desk into a makeshift dugout for the event.

Three other libraries won prizes for bringing in the most entries: Lion Park LRC, Mt. Prospect, Ill., Lee-Scott Academy library, Auburn, Ala., and Durkin Park School library, Chicago, Ill. All received a copy of Shades of Glory, along with a $50 gift certificate to ALA Graphics.

The "Step Up to the Plate @ your library" program kicked off in April at O’Brien Field, Peoria, Ill., the home of the Peoria Chiefs, a Class-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and at the library of nearby Morton Junior High. Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith and Ryne Sandberg, manager of the Chiefs, were on hand.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the historical development of the game and its impact on our culture by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting its collections for a global audience, as well as honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to our National Pastime.

"Step Up to the Plate @ your library" is a part of The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ALA’s national public awareness and advocacy campaign to remind the public about the value of libraries and librarians. Program supporters included the Association for Library Service to Children, American Association of School Librarians and Public Library Association, all divisions of the ALA, as well as ALA’s Black Caucus and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking.

For more information, visit www.ala.org/baseball .