Friday, January 9, 2009

A New Year and a New World Record

Joanne Head, coordinator of Children’s Services at Western Counties Regional Library (Nova Scotia), and the library’s newest puppet librarian read from Munschworks 2 in preparation for the Family Literacy Day World Record Attempt on Jan. 23 and 24. (Ian White photo/Western Counties Regional Library)

We’re excited, and hoping that you, our fellow readers, will participate in a very special event!

Between 2 p.m. EST on January 23 and 2 p.m. EST on January 24, 2009, Family Literacy Day® organizers (representatives of the ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation) are planning a cross-Canada, bilingual attempt to break the Guinness World Record™ for “Most children reading with an adult (for a 30-minute period), Multiple Locations.”

Canadians from coast to coast are encouraged to read a particular selection of stories – Pigs; Mortimer; Purple, Green and Yellow; Murmel, Murmel, Murmel; and Something Good, all by best-selling children’s author Robert Munsch – with a goal to surpassing the Guinness World Record™ of 78,791 child and adult readers set in the United States in 2005.

Annick Press and French-Canadian publisher la courte échelle are making the stories available in several formats to enhance accessibility across the land. On Friday, January 23, FLD will host a large-scale reading at Toronto City Hall, which will be attended by hundreds of school children, their teachers, and numerous celebrity readers. On Saturday, January 24, more than a dozen shopping centres across Canada will host their own huge community events at which each will project the stories onto a jumbotron screen for a mass public reading.

In addition, electronic copies of the stories – in both English and French – will be available to the general public in two formats: 1. in downloadable text-only format (from Wed., Jan. 21 through Sat., Jan. 24 inclusive); and 2. in read-only format (on Jan. 23 and 24). This will allow registered groups to organize their own mass readings or to read the stories from their computer screens to contribute to this world record attempt.

As of today, almost 400 events, with over 90,000 participants, have registered to participate in this event. Will you join in as well? With your participation and enthusiasm we may well achieve our goal!

So, here’s to literature and children and reading – and, who knows, maybe a new world record!

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