Verizon Information Services Donates $30,000 to Selby Public Library; Brings James Earl Jones to Read to Local Children

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Sarasota, Fla. -- Verizon Information Services, creator of the number one online yellow pages and Sarasota's local phone directory SuperPages, announced today a $30,000 grant to the Selby Public Library's Pathfinder Computer Literacy Project. The Project was created to help Sarasota's Hispanic community learn how to read and use computers. On hand for the celebration in the Children's Library, actor and Verizon spokesperson James Earl Jones treated a group of students from Children First to a reading of "The Story of Ferdinand," a book about a little bull from Spain who would rather stand on his principle than follow the crowd.

"The launch of the Pathfinder Computer Literacy Project could not have come at a better time. The Hispanic Community is growing at a rapid pace and we need to address their unique literacy needs. The Pathfinder Project will allow us to offer bilingual services for reading and computer literacy programs, which will open the doors of learning for many people," said Liz Nolan, head librarian, Selby Public Library. "The Selby Public Library shares Verizon Information Services' enthusiasm and passion for computer literacy and commends their willingness to give back to our community."

"Supporting literacy is critical to Verizon because we believe the ability to read, write and communicate is the foundation for success in life. Literacy helps prepare kids for a lifetime of learning," said Janet Stevens, group vice president -- public affairs, Verizon Information Services. "The Pathfinder Computer Literacy Project helps Sarasota address the need to provide computer resources in the area which gives more people the ability to use helpful Internet tools like"

Verizon Information Services sponsors community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy rate of children and adults and to help people of all ages become computer literate. These programs are part of Verizon's overall commitment to leading the effort to increase U.S. literacy levels. Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon works to increase community and corporate awareness, raise funds, encourage collaboration among literacy providers and engage employees in supporting literacy programs.

Pathfinder Computer Literacy Project

Selby Public Library partnered with Verizon Information Services to launch the Pathfinder Program and encourage computer literacy throughout the community. The need for this project is apparent, since one in five people in Sarasota are functionally illiterate, and 48 percent of adults in Florida are unable to speak English well or at all. The library has established partnerships with the Hispanic-Latino Coalition and the Literacy Council of Sarasota to provide key insights on the program's development.

The Pathfinder Computer Literacy Project promotes reading and the use of computers among the Hispanic community and provides information on and links to topics such as library use, community organizations, literacy services, computer technology, Verizon and other cultural information. The information is available in both Spanish and English.

To participate in the Pathfinder Computer Literacy Project, contact the Selby Public Library at 941-316-1182.

About the Selby Public Library

The new Selby Public Library at Five Points Park, dedicated on August 1, 1998, has made both an architectural statement and an informational one. With an increased capacity for print and media collections, and while offering expanded access to a broader range of electronic resources, the library continues to serve our community as one of its most visible educational and cultural institutions. The new Selby replaced the original Selby Library that was located on Sarasota Bay. That building now houses the G.WIZ Science & Technology Center.

Currently, the Selby Public Library offers over a quarter of a million books and periodicals, thousands of audio and video recordings, and hundreds of software programs to more than 3,000 patrons who utilize the library each day. Up to 400 people a day are registered to use our Internet-based resources, and approximately 100 patrons per month attend computer instruction classes. Each year, the Selby Library sees more than 1,000,000 visitors, lends more than 900,000 items, and issues more than 12,000 library cards, and our reference staff answers more than 300,000 questions.

About Verizon Information Services and

Verizon Information Services is a world's leading print and online directory publisher and a content provider for communications products and services. The largest directory publisher in the world, Verizon has annual revenues of more than $4.1 billion and publishes nearly 1,600 Verizon directory titles with a total circulation of approximately 144 million copies worldwide. Verizon Information Services also produces and markets, the Internet's preeminent online directory and shopping resource. receives as many as 9 million visits and completes as many as 20 million searches per month. Based in the Dallas area, Verizon Information Services is a unit of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), one of the world's leading providers of communications services.

Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon is committed to leading the fight to increase U.S. literacy levels by creating community and corporate awareness, raising funds, encouraging collaboration among literacy providers and engaging employees in supporting literacy programs. Verizon Information Services supports community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy rate of children and adults and to help people of all ages become computer literate.

For more information on Verizon Information Services, visit For more information on Verizon's literacy programs, visit and click on the Verizon Reads icon.

About James Earl Jones -- Verizon Spokesperson

Mr. Jones first became the voice of Bell Atlantic in 1989 when he was featured in a commercial campaign for Bell Atlantic Directory Services. He proved to be so popular that he was adopted as a corporate-wide spokesperson in 1995. And, when GTE and Bell Atlantic merged in June to become Verizon Communications, that partnership was extended. Mr. Jones' current activities as corporate spokesperson for Verizon include participation in many literacy and educational events such as today's book reading at the Selby Public Library.

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