Thursday July 16, 2015
Orchard School Library received a grant recently from bestselling author James Patterson. In addition, Scholastic Reading Club will match each dollar of Patterson’s donation with “bonus points” that teachers can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms. Orchard School was one of only 127 schools selected from more than 28,000 applications for funding grants.
James Patterson and Scholastic Reading Club announced in March 2015 that Patterson would donate $1.5 million to save school libraries nationwide, with grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, as part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a number one priority in the United States. Due to the high demand for funding from school libraries nationwide, Patterson reported he will increase his donation by another $250,000, bringing his total donation to $1.75 million. All funds are being personally donated by Patterson.
Orchard School’s librarian, Donna Sullivan-MacDonald, who is currently attending the International Technology for Education conference in Philadelphia, says that she will be using the generous Patterson funds to purchase multiple copies of the popular Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award books.
With kudos to Sullivan-MacDonald, who recently received the 2015 Vermont School Library Association Award, the Patterson grant is another achievement in an already noteworthy year. Last December, Orchard School was Vermont’s winner of a $10,000 award from Code.org for their commitment to expand participation in computer science. In addition, Sullivan-MacDonald received $850 from the Gates Foundation to fund a weeklong professional development course this summer.
“With nearly half the population currently reading at or below the basic level, the United States is truly in the middle of a crisis,” says Patterson, who recently launched the children’s book imprint Jimmy Patterson, aimed at making books available to kids through teacher scholarships, bookstore funding, school library support, and book donations. “I’ve now read over a thousand letters from school librarians, teachers, and parents about the lack of resources at our country’s schools. How will children make it to high school without access to books? This is a huge problem - and we have to take action. I hope that education will become a major topic on Capitol Hill and in the upcoming presidential debates.”
“We’ve been deluged with an enormous number of requests for support from across the country,” said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Reading Club. “More than anything else, school libraries are desperate for books to fill their shelves. James Patterson’s generosity underscores a great need, and, thanks to him, many children will be welcomed back to school with the books they need to discover a love of reading.”