(Jackson, Miss.) Governor Haley Barbour and First Lady Marsha Barbour today visited the Hancock County Library System in Bay St. Louis to participate in Scholastic Read for 2006, a seventh annual worldwide reading celebration designed to connect millions of children around the world through the power of reading books.

Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company that created the reading initiative, donated 500 children’s books to the Hancock County Library System, one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. In participation with the Scholastic Read Global Read-a-thon, Marsha Barbour read a book with children at the library. “I am proud to participate in Scholastic’s efforts to generate excitement about reading in schools and homes,” Mrs. Barbour said. “Reading is vital for future success and helps build better lives.” The First Lady has visited the Coast almost every day since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, and had the donated books directed to this library to assist with recovery efforts.

Joining First Lady Marsha Barbour in the Read for 2006 celebration are Gubernatorial First Spouses in states across the country leading exciting reading events in schools, libraries, and state capitols. Also present at the Hancock County Library System were Eddie Favre, Mayor of Bay St. Louis; Frank McNeill, Bay St. Louis Police Chief; Bobbie Gavagie, Bay St. Louis Fire Chief; Ronnie Vanney, Bay St. Louis Public Works Director; Prima Plauche, Hancock County Library System Director; Dr. Kim Stasny, Superintendent of Bay St. Louis Schools; and Beverly Williams, Southwest Region Scholastic Account Executive.

“We are thankful for the participation of the Gubernatorial First Spouses who will help spread the message of the importance of reading to children in their states,” said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President, and CEO of Scholastic. “With their support, this day will be a wonderful celebration of reading in Mississippi and around the country.” For more information about Scholastic Read for 2006, and to view a world map of participating countries, please visit for 2006.

Office of the Governor
Courtney Olivier (601) 359-3150

Monday, December 5, 2005