Jim Rettig joins Sec. Duncan in kick-off event for “United We Serve” national campaign

Contact: Jenni Terry
Press Officer
ALA Washington Office
202-628-8410
jterry@alawash.org

For Immediate Release
June 22, 2009

WASHINGTON — American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Rettig will facilitate a roundtable discussion with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Governor Corzine, and regional librarians in a special kick-off event for President Obama’s summer volunteer campaign, “United We Serve,” today at Fanwood Memorial Library in Fanwood, N.J.

As part of its role in the campaign, the U.S. Department of Education, in collaboration with the Corporation for National and Community Service, will combat summer reading loss and is partnering with libraries and other community organizations to accomplish this goal.

“Public and school libraries are at the forefront of helping students achieve academically,” Rettig said.

“Research has shown that children who participate in summer library reading programs are better prepared to continue their education when they return to school in the fall. Students who participate in a program in which they read 10 books over the summer show more reading achievement than students who do not.”

During today’s event, Sec. Duncan will read to a group of children, grades K-3. The other participants were asked to share their favorite books; Rettig selected two books he said he often read with his children when they were young: “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey and “Poetry for Young People: William Blake” edited by John Maynard.

“United We Serve” runs from June 22 through the National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sept. 11. The initiative focuses on four key areas: education, health, energy and the environment; and community renewal.  It is being led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that improves lives and strengthens communities through volunteering and service.

Libraries have posted volunteer opportunities at www.serve.gov.  ALA’s Web site for the public, www.ilovelibraries.org, will feature information of use to patrons, including starting book clubs, reading events for children or teens, encouraging library card sign-up or joining or creating Friends of Library groups.

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