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Telling America's Stories: A Library of Congress ProjectTELLING AMERICA'S STORIES

"Stories connect people to the world of books and reading," said Center for the Book director John Y. Cole in announcing that TELLING AMERICA'S STORIES will be the Library of Congress's reading promotion theme for the years 2001-2003. "The Center for the Book and the American Folklife Center will sponsor this project jointly," said Cole, "and we invite schools, libraries, museums, historical societies, families, and individuals to join us. We also enlist our affiliated centers in 42 states and the District of Columbia."

TELLING AMERICA'S STORIES takes advantage of the Library of Congress Web site - America's Library, existing Center for the Book projects such as Favorite Poem, Literary Heritage USA, the River of Words environmental poetry and art contest; and Rivers of America, a documentation project with the American Folklife Center.

"The American Folklife Center is delighted to be part of this campaign," said director Peggy Bulger. "Not only does it complement Local Legacies, one of our major efforts to celebrate community traditions, but it also fits beautifully with our American war veterans oral history project and our plans to strengthen the American Folklife Center's storytelling collections."

The popular Library of Congress Web site, America's Library, was designed to stimulate interest in American history among families and young people. It presents lively stories from America's past grouped into five categories ("Meet Amazing Americans," "Jump Back in Time," "Explore the States," "Join America at Play," "See, Hear, and Sing"), using unique items from the Library's collections--mostly letters, diaries, records and tapes , films, sheet music, maps, prints and photographs.

Previous Center for the Book reading promotion themes have included "The Year of the Young Reader" (1989), "Books Change Lives" (1993-1994), and "Building a Nation of Readers" (1997- 2000).


For Individuals and Families

  • Attend a storytelling festival - (Click on the Book Events Calendar and the Book Fairs section at: )
  • Collect your family's favorite stories
  • Establish a family read-aloud hour
  • Visit a local literary landmark
  • Research and write about an event in the history of your community
  • Visit the Library of Congress Local Legacies Web site
  • Join a book discussion group
  • Create a family cookbook
  • Volunteer to read to patients in a hospital or nursing home
  • Go to a reading at your local library or bookstore
  • Ask friends and family members to tell you about their favorite book
  • Volunteer to help at the local library, museum or historical society
  • Visit the Library of Congress Web site America's Library

For Schools and Libraries

  • Establish a storytelling group
  • Create a local literary map
  • Create a tour of significant or curious places in your community
  • Invite local authors, television stars, and public officials to talk about their favorite books
  • Ask local book collectors to talk about their collections
  • Study and document the history of an old building in your community
  • Organize a field trip to the local historical society

For Organizations and Businesses

  • Sponsor an oral history of your organization
  • Become a sponsor of a community book fair or storytelling festival
  • Establish an employee storytelling or book discussion group
  • Organize a contest asking members or employees to describe "a book that changed my life."
  • Form a reading promotion partnership with a local school or library
  • Organize a field trip to a local literary landmark


Meet Amazing Americans

  • Read a book about one of the famous Americans described on the Web site
  • Plan a visit to the home of a famous American
  • Write a one-page description of the most amazing American you've ever known

Jump Back in Time

  • Choose your favorite period in American history
  • Find out what happened on one day in American history--today, or on your birthday
  • Chose a favorite display in your local museum and interview yourself about why you like it

Explore the States

  • Memorize the state capitals and challenge friends and family members to memorize them
  • Visit your state capitol and make a list of statues on the capitol grounds
  • List the most famous writers and poets who have lived in your state
  • Learn about book events and reading promotion activities in your state by visiting the Center for the Book's Web site
  • Learn about folklife events and activities in your state by visiting the American Folklife Center's Web site

Join America at Play

  • Interview friends and family members about their favorite sports
  • Start a new scrapbook about family vacations and travel
  • Describe your first airplane ride

See, Hear and Sing

  • Make a list of your favorite songs and when you think you first heard them
  • Visit a restored movie theater
  • Try to remember the first time you listened to the radio and the first television program you ever saw
First Lady Laura Bush is Honorary Chair of New Library of Congress National Reading Promotion Campaign

  The Library of Congress >> Research Centers >> Center for the Book Home
  October 3, 2008
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