LOS ANGELES, Sep 22, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) - City National Bank and itsemployees today collected more than 5,000 books for Los Angeles area schoollibraries. The book drive took place at the company's annual employee picnic inEl Segundo.

In April, the bank announced the creation of its Reading Is the Way Up program.With a $100,000 gift to the Governor's Book Fund, the bank set about the task ofreplenishing school libraries that are now understocked with out-of-date books.The typical school library in California now has 12 books per student - 2/3rdof the nationwide average - and only about half of what is recommended. Most ofthem are at least 20 years old.

"How can we expect children to read if they don't have access to books?" saidCity National Bank CEO Russell Goldsmith. "How can we expect them to be wellinformed of world events if the average book was written before the fall of theSoviet Union? Even in this age of technology, libraries are still the foundationfor learning."

In addition to funding the purchase of additional books, and organizing bookdrives in the communities it serves, the Bank also encourages its employees tovolunteer their time reading in public schools.

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