Eric Gordon, Irvin Mayfield, and Morris Bart read to over 200 children at a recent Turn the Page event.
Turn the Page Breaks Guinness
World Record for Largest
Guinness World Records today notified the Turn the Page Literacy Campaign that it achieved the “Largest Reading Lesson” when 451 children took part in a launch event on Jan. 22, 2014 at the New Orleans Public Library to kick off a major multi-parish wide effort. That event, hosted by Grammy winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and co-chair Wendell Pierce, combined the best of New Orleans music and story-telling and easily broke the previous Guinness record.
Turn the Page is a collaborative effort led by the New Orleans Public Library Foundation with a bold goal—to make New Orleans the most literate city in America by its 300th birthday in 2018. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Louisiana State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton, area University presidents, chancellors, campaign co-chairs actor Wendell Pierce, Vice Chairman of the New Orleans Public Library Board Christine Guillory, Executive Director of the New Orleans Public Library Charles Brown and Interim President and Executive Director of Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Miranda Restovic all attended the dynamic kickoff event.
Instrumental in the creation of the campaign is renowned trumpeter Irvin Mayfield who gathered a number of musicians to provide a musical accompaniment to the reading by Wendell Pierce. Noted New Orleans musicians included Ellis Marsalis, Glen David Andrews, Shannon Powell, Don Vappie and Peter Harris. Mayfield was recently named Chairman Emeritus of the New Orleans Public Library as a recognition of several years of completed volunteer service on the board.
“Our goal is to work together to make New Orleans the most literate city in America by our 300th anniversary in 2018, so this record helps bring recognition to such a vital issue for our region,” said Co-Chair Guillory. “We are experiencing a lot of momentum with all our efforts but we have just begun and need everyone to continue to contribute so we can reach our goal and make sure every child becomes literate and learns to read.”
New Orleans is currently ranked as the 19th most literate city among 75 US cities with 250,000 or more in population, according to a 2014 study conducted by Central Connecticut State University. Coming off the heels of our campaign launch, this is a rise from being ranked 25th in the 2013 study. The kickoff event garnered major media attention in an effort to increase awareness about literacy and the Turn the Page campaign. Several local elementary schools, including Mahalia Jackson Elementary, Ben Franklin Elementary, Edgar P. Harney Elementary and James Singleton Elementary arranged field trips for their first and second graders to attend the record attempt and enjoy a dynamic reading lesson based on “The Bourbon Street Band is Back,” written by Ed Shankman and illustrated by David O’Neill.
Turn the Pageis an effective way that local businesses, non-profit organizations, community associations and media outlets can display their commitment to one of the most serious issues facing New Orleans – Literacy.
Turn the Page is an important initiative with a bold goal – to make New Orleans the most literate city in America by its 300th birthday in 2018, which will be accomplished by raising awareness of issues, available resources and programming related to early childhood, school success, digital literacy and adult literacy. The campaign is an inclusive, collaborative literacy campaign spearheaded by the New Orleans Public Library and 10 regional parish libraries across southeast Louisiana. Turn the Page will include ’30 in 30,’ or 30 events in 30 days, targeted at moving the needle on literacy in Southeast Louisiana.