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

“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

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

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

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

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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