PA Libraries Honored for Children’s Reading Program

HARRISBURG – A statewide library campaign to encourage a love of reading among young children has received a national award from the American Library Association, Secretary of Education Gerald L. Zahorchak announced Friday.

The association has named the Office of Commonwealth Libraries as a recipient of the 2007 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award for its “Pennsylvania: One Book, Every Young Child” campaign.

“We are very proud of this innovative program. It promotes reading, encourages quality time for families and helps our children foster a love of learning at a young age so that they can intellectually thrive throughout their lives,” Zahorchak said. “It gives adults a valuable opportunity to be actively engaged in a child’s learning.”

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries was one of seven recipients of the award, which was named for one of the nation’s foremost advocates for libraries. “One Book, Every Young Child” marked Pennsylvania’s first ever collaborative project using a single book to help adults foster the development of early literacy skills with the children in their lives.

The program also organizes activities that encourage young children to read and gives parents practical tools on how to promote reading at home. The book used for the first year of the campaign, “Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse,” was written and illustrated by Pennsylvanian Lindsay Barrett George. The book was distributed to 641 public libraries and 15,000 early care and education programs, along with tips and tools for discussing the book with a child or group of children.

Zahorchak recently awarded the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Outstanding Achievement Award to library development advisor Susan Pannebaker for her leadership in developing the “One Book, Every Young Child” program.

The 2007 “One Book, Every Young Child” book selection is “A Splendid Friend, Indeed” by Suzanne Bloom. The book centers on the unlikely friendship of a polar bear and a goose. Bloom’s book was named one of the ALA’s Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor books in 2006.

To learn more about the “One Book, Every Young Child” program, visit http://www.paonebook.org.

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