November 14, 2000

Middlebury College’s National Book Drive Tops 22,000 Books


MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Middlebury College has officially concluded Page 1--a national book drive organized on the occasion of the College’s Bicentennial--with the collection of more than 22,000 new books, a sum equivalent to the number of all living Middlebury alumni. The project is the largest volunteer effort in the College’s history. Middlebury College President John M. McCardell, Jr. announced the results of the book drive on Saturday, Nov. 4 at a convocation ceremony celebrating the Bicentennial.

"We weren’t sure what the exact outcome of the book drive would be since the College had never mounted such an effort before. I’m thrilled that Middlebury alumni responded with such energy and enthusiasm to Page 1," said McCardell.

Bob Keeshan, the former Captain Kangaroo of children’s television, helped launch

Page 1 earlier this year on Jan. 20 when he gave a talk at the College. Book collections officially began after the launch of the program, and continued for nine months until November, when the books were delivered to various literacy programs and other organizations across the country. Page 1 organizers only requested donations of new books.

The project offered a way for the College’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends to participate in Middlebury’s Bicentennial while responding to the needs of their local community or state. Through mailings, the Middlebury Magazine, and other means, the College encouraged them either to donate a book or to arrange an event—from potluck dinners and children’s parties to school read-a-thons and workplace book drives—where they collected books from guests or participants.

More than 50 coordinators—most of whom were alumni—identified programs in every state for participation in Page 1, including schools, libraries, adult literacy programs, preschools, and after-school programs. In many instances, Middlebury alumni also assisted the programs as

tutors or reading partners. The number of books collected on a state by state basis varied, ranging from 350 in Arizona and 1,170 in Kentucky to 175 in Alaska and 420 in Maine.

Several alumni collected significant numbers of new books for Page 1:

Pat Sherlock Davidson, a member of the Middlebury class of 1959 and vice provost for academic services at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, held a reception in honor of fellow colleague and alumnus Sam Walker. A member of the class of 1972 who died of cancer in 1999, Walker had taught drawing and printmaking at the University of Massachusetts. Davidson’s event yielded 429 of the 1,500 books collected by alumni in the Boston area. Page 1 organizers in Boston divided the 1,500 books into two donations for local organizations--one for the Children’s AIDS Program and the other for Dorchester’s Neighborhood House Charter School.

Robin Burnham Owen, a 1975 alumnus and resident of Bozeman, Mont., collected 790 books. Most will be used to establish permanent lending libraries in two local shelters for children and battered women--the Bozeman Area Battered Women’s Shelter and the Livingston Area Battered Women’s Shelter. Children who stay at the shelters will receive the remaining books as Christmas presents.

A number of the alumni literacy initiatives around the country will carry on despite the conclusion of the national book drive. According to Ingrid Punderson, Middlebury College associate director of alumni and parent programs, alumni in such locations as Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. have decided to make their efforts to collect books for local organizations annual events.

On campus, the Page 1 program will continue, according to Margaret Sanchez, Middlebury College Page 1 coordinator. "Although the national book drive has ended, Middlebury students, faculty, and staff will remain involved in Page 1’s literacy efforts in Addison County," said Sanchez.

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