Step Up launch

Contact: Megan McFarlane
Coordinator, Campaign for America's Libraries
(312)280-2148
mmcfarlane@ala.org
For Immediate Release,
April 8, 2008

Step Up to the Plate @ your library launches in Mobile, Ala.


CHICAGO) The American Library Association and the National Baseball Hall of Fame officially launched the third season of Step Up to the Plate @ your library Friday, April 4, in Mobile, Ala. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith was on hand to help kick off The Campaign for America's Libraries' national program.

At a morning library event at the Baker High School library, Smith led a group of students through a series of baseball trivia questions developed by librarians at the Hall of Fame. Later in the evening, Smith and ALA, Hall of Fame and local library representatives were recognized on field during a pre-game ceremony at Hank Aaron Stadium before a game of the local minor league Bay Bears.

"Libraries are truly unique resources in the community," said Smith. "They are places of opportunity where everyone can go, regardless of age, background or income."

Smith also threw out the first pitch at the Bay Bears' Hank Aaron Stadium, Friday evening. On field with Smith were Val Thomson, youth services associate librarian at Mobile Public Library, Jana Barber, library media specialist at Baker High School library and Jeff Idelson, acting president of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Game attendees were also given a taste of the Step Up to the Plate program when selected children competed in a baseball trivia contest between innings.

Step Up to the Plate @ your library teams up two American classics - baseball and libraries - to promote the importance of information literacy skills and increase awareness of the library as an essential information resource.

Season three of the program is a whole new "ball game," celebrating the 100th anniversary of the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." People of all ages are encouraged to use the print and electronic resources at their library to answer a series of trivia questions inspired by the iconic song. Categories of questions include ballparks, baseball in popular culture, fan experience and baseball pioneers. One grand-prize winner will receive a trip to the Hall of Fame in October 2008.

Library users can visit the Step Up to the Plate Web site at www.ala.org/baseball to download a playbook of trivia questions for their age group (10 and under; 11-13; 14-17; 18 and up) or can submit their answers online.

Librarians are encouraged to visit the program Web site to register for free promotional tools to help promote the program locally. Tools include program logos in both English and Spanish and a toolkit that includes sample press materials and programming ideas. To date, more than 600 librarians from across the country have registered for the program.

Librarians who bring in the most entries can win incentives for participation in the program. The library that brings in the most entries will get a $100 bookstore gift certificate and a copy of "Baseball's Greatest Hit: The Story of 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game,'" by Andy Strasberg, Bob Thompson and Tim Wiles. The next three libraries will receive a $50 ALA Graphics gift certificate and a copy of "Baseball's Greatest Hit."

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is a Partner in The Campaign for America's Libraries. Other Partners include Dollar General, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and Woman's Day magazine. The Campaign is made possible in part by ALA's Library Champions, ALA's highest level of corporate members, who support public awareness on behalf of America's libraries.