Education

Nov 1, 2010 3:29 PM by Katie Durio

Barnes & Noble Partners with Picard Center to Provide Books to PreK Children in Seven Acadiana School Districts

LAFAYETTE, La. - In the spirit of the holiday season, Barnes & Noble is hosting its annual Holiday Book Drive to give the gift of literacy to children in Acadiana.

The Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive is an annual program that provides customers with the opportunity to purchase a book for donation and give it to a child in the community.

The 2010 book drive begins Monday, November 1, 2010 and runs through Saturday, January 1, 2011.

Each year, Barnes & Noble selects a local nonprofit organization to distribute the books directly to the children. The Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning has been named the recipient organization for the second consecutive year.

The Picard Center, a research and evaluation center located at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, studies early childhood education and literacy, among other research areas, and the Center partners with numerous local school districts on prekindergarten studies and initiatives.

The books donated by Barnes & Noble customers will be divided by the Picard Center and distributed to 4-year-old students in seven Acadiana parishes:

Acadia
Evangeline
Iberia
Lafayette
St. Landry
St. Martin
Vermilion

The age-appropriate books, which begin at $3.99, include Little Golden Books and the "I Can Read" series, such as Amelia Bedelia.

"The overwhelming generosity of our customers and booksellers who supported our Holiday Book Drive last year was one of my proudest moments as both a Barnes & Noble store manager and a member of the Acadiana community," states Lafayette store manager Drew Zeigler. "My hope for this holiday season is that we will be able to collect an even greater number of books to put into the hands of children throughout the greater Acadiana area. Opening the hearts and minds of children to the vast possibilities that books can bring is one of the greatest gifts we can give to them."

"Literacy opens a world of opportunities for children," says Dr. Billy R. Stokes, Executive Director of the Picard Center. "Our years of research have shown that children who are exposed to more books at an early age are more successful in their educational pursuits, careers and life in general. Our Center is proud to assist these seven school districts in providing books and the gift of literacy to thousands of their children."

QUOTES FROM AREA SUPERINTENDENTS
Iberia Parish Schools Superintendent Dale Henderson: "On behalf of the Iberia Parish School Board, we are happy to partner with Barnes & Noble and the Picard Center in this exciting and worthwhile project to make books available for our prekindergarten students. Reading is one of the most important, if not the most important, subject taught in schools, and we must take advantage of every opportunity to expose young children to good books."

Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Burnell Lemoine: "Last year, this program was a huge success. We're thrilled that our partnership with Barnes & Noble and the Picard Center will continue this year. This type of program can make a very real difference in a child's life. It demonstrates once again that our community is a generous and caring one."

Acadia Parish Schools Superintendent John Bourque: "By offering customers the opportunity to provide books to our PreK children, the Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive is providing one of the most important factors affecting literacy - access to books. I encourage everyone to give books as presents or to celebrate special events in a child's life."

St. Martin Parish Schools Superintendent Richard Lavergne: "The success early readers experience can often be attributed to the language and literacy experiences children participate in prior to beginning kindergarten. It is most important that young children be given multiple opportunities to be exposed to high-quality literacy environments in order to experience future academic success. As such, the St. Martin Parish School Board is very grateful for this opportunity to promote a love of literacy in 4-year-olds in order to make literacy an integral and valuable part of their lives."

ABOUT BARNES & NOBLE, INC.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world's largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 717 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble is the nation's top bookseller brand for the seventh year in a row, as determined by a combination of the brand's performance on familiarity, quality, and purchase intent. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web's largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than one million titles in its eBookstore (www.bn.com/ebooks). Through Barnes & Noble's NOOKTM eReading product offering, customers can buy and read eBooks on the widest range of platforms, including NOOK eBook Readers, devices from partner companies, and hundreds of the most popular mobile and computing devices using free NOOK software. General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company's corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.

ABOUT THE PICARD CENTER
The Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning is a research center comprised of a multidisciplinary group of evaluation and research professionals who focus on early childhood, K-12 education, school-based health, poverty's effects on families, and lifelong learning. As an integral part of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's research mission, the Center provides high-quality, rigorous evaluations of programs that are implemented to address learning from birth through adulthood. Applied research is continually conducted in all areas of education, health, and well-being to ensure a prosperous and healthy future for all of Louisiana's children.

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