Proclamation 5914 -- National Book Week, 1988
the President of the
Thoreau once wrote, ``are the treasured wealth of the world, the inheritance of
generations and nations.'' In the love of books and the accumulated learning
they represent lie the heritage and the hope of mankind. For us in
National Book Week, we pause to recall all that books have had to do not only
with the founding and building of this land, but also with the transmission of
those ideas and practical achievements that form the basis of our culture.
Published maps, journals, and accounts of explorers, adventurers, and
missionaries inspired the early pioneers to follow them across new horizons of
discovery in the
Anyone who doubts the power or permanence of books need only look today at countries around the world where the mere composition, printing, binding, and distribution of a book is a prosecutable act of defiance against the state. Even the rulers of these regimes must secretly acknowledge the futility of their aims. For the printed word is an implacable enemy of tyranny, whether that tyranny comes in the form of official censorship by government or fashionable neglect by academia. In every society, the goals of education must include such a wide experience of the best books that intellectual independence and critical thinking become the natural assets of each citizen.
Our free society, then, must prize its libraries just as it values its liberties. We can all resolve during National Book Week to take stock of our own reading practices and our attentiveness to sharing books with others, especially the young. Technological change and specialized publications -- electronic books, braille and large-print media for the visually impaired, recorded books and other forms -- have greatly increased the accessibility of all kinds of literature. Promoting even broader dissemination of book learning, including efforts to achieve 100 percent literacy in our Nation, is the proper concern of all Americans. Truly we owe it to future generations to understand, preserve, and pass on the wisdom of the ages found only in books.
Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 342, has designated the period of November
Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the
Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of November,
in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the
[Filed with the Office
of the Federal Register, ,
Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on November 25.