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.

— end —