Arkansas teen wins checkered flag in Drive to Read @ your libraryTM

Contact: Megan Humphrey, Campaign Coordinator


For Immediate Release

May 16, 2003

Arkansas teen wins checkered flag in Drive to Read @ your library™

“53’ of Chocolate” headed to Ohio library for best local program promotion

Marcus Moreno from Pleasant Plains, Ark., is the winner of the Drive to Read @ your library™ program developed by the American Library Association (ALA) and Morningstar Foods Inc., maker of HERSHEY®’s Milk.
Moreno, 15, was just one of the teens nationwide who stepped up to tell about their literary heroes for the second year of the program.

Moreno will race down to the Daytona 400 in July to attend the race and meet NASCAR driver and program spokesperson, Ward Burton.
Librarian Karen Wells from Midland High School in Pleasant Plains also will attend the race for sponsoring the teen in the program.

The Drive to Read @ your library program was designed to ignite interest in reading among America’s teens and drive them into libraries.
This year, teens were asked to read one of the
2002 Best Books for Young Adults, selected by librarians through the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of ALA, and submit an entry based on the character from the book they chose that was most heroic to them.
Teens were required to have a school or public librarian sponsor their entries.

Moreno wrote an
essay on the book,
A Matter of Profit by Hilari Bell (New York: Harper Collins, 2001.)
Moreno’s selected hero from the book was the “T’Chin Race” because it “chooses peace over war.”
He discusses the definition of “hero” and how “a person may be considered a hero by some, but to others he or she may be considered a villain.
A hero is determined by personal opinion.”

A jury of teens and YALSA members selected Moreno as the winner. The entries were judged on how well the “literary hero” theme was addressed, as well as for their thoughtfulness and creativity.

“The jury liked his description of what a hero is, how it is determined by personal opinion.
It was a unique idea to pick an entire race of people as his hero,” said jury member Tasha Squires, District Young Adult Librarian of the Fountaindale Public Library District in Bolingbrook, Ill.

Other jury members included Anna R. Healy, Youth Services Librarian at the Skokie (Ill.) Public Library; Kathy Richter, Children’s Librarian, Jefferson Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library; and Emily Maassen and Carly Miller, teens representing the Skokie Public Library.

Following the local announcement of his win, Moreno was interviewed by several newspapers and the local radio station and has been asked to write a feature story about his win for a local paper.
Moreno and Wells also were invited to the Arkansas State Senate, which presented the teen with an official letter of commendation for his Drive to Read win.

“Drive to Read provides a great incentive to get students to read from a quality selection of books, and as a school librarian for 25 years and a mother of two boys, I know the important role that reading can play in a young male’s life.
I couldn’t be more thrilled at the opportunities that this program has brought Marcus,” Wells said.

Moreno’s essay was only one among many creative entries.
This year, teens were invited to submit entries in any format they chose.
One teen submitted a pair of jeans decorated like the pair in the book,
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares.
A group of teens produced a police report folder based on a murder in one of the books, complete with mock witness interviews and crime scene photos.
There were also several paintings, collages, poems, dioramas and an American flag quilt.

Three winners were named in the first “Librarians in the Driver’s Seat” contest that awarded prizes for the best promotion of the Drive to Read program.
First place was awarded to
Harris-Elmore Public Library in Elmore, Ohio, which will receive a visit from “53’ of Chocolate,” a fully interactive exhibit housed in a customized tractor-trailer.
Second place went to Hopkins High School, Hopkins, Mich., which will receive a month’s supply of Hershey’s Milk. One hundred Drive to Read T-shirts will be delivered to third place winner, Wayland Free Library in Wayland, N.Y.
Libraries were asked to submit photos of a display, sample publicity materials that used the Drive to Read logo, and a one-page narrative describing local outreach efforts.
More than 1,200 libraries registered in this year’s program on the Drive to Read Web site at

Drive to Read @ your library is a program of The Campaign for America's Libraries, a multi-year public awareness campaign sponsored by ALA to remind the public about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century.

For more information on the campaign and to subscribe to an email list for the latest campaign updates and idea-sharing, visit the @ your library Web site at
Libraries are encouraged to send examples of how they are involved in the campaign to: Megan Humphrey, Campaign Coordinator, ALA Public Information Office, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Questions about the campaign can be directed to