Thursday December 15, 2016
Chamberlin School recently received a grant from bestselling author James Patterson. The grant is the second installment of Patterson’s School Library Campaign, which pledges 1.75 million dollars to save school libraries nationwide. In addition, Scholastic Reading Club matches each dollar of Patterson’s donation with “bonus points” that teachers can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms. Chamberlin is one of 419 schools selected out of a pool of thousands. They will use the funds to support their library.
Chamberlin School Media Specialist Caliope Flickinger says, “The school is honored to be selected to receive this inspirational and generous grant. Our strong desires and goals are to place many books in the hands of all our students that will instill the love of reading for a lifetime and help students grow into readers that build their world with academic skills, character strengths and the world of inquiry. We cannot be more thankful.”
“We’ve just come out of the most divisive presidential election in history – and among all the issues that captivated voters, education wasn’t one of them. It was hardly discussed,” says Patterson. “Nearly half of the American population reads at or below a basic level, and we need to address that problem to foster an informed future electorate. I’ve made it my mission to underscore the vital role reading plays in children’s lives, and the need to sustain school libraries is at the heart of that mission.”
“Last year’s ‘Patterson Pledge’ showed communities nationwide how important school libraries are, but also how gravely desperate they are for books to fill their shelves in the midst of steep budget cuts,” said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Reading Club.
In the first-ever partnership of its kind, Patterson joined forces with Scholastic Reading Club to administer funding applications to their network of 62,000 schools and 800,000 teachers. Schools entering were asked to share the story of their school library, including past efforts to make improvements and “great ideas to help create a brighter future.” Patterson personally read and selected the winning recipients of the grants. Based on past winners, school libraries across the country have been using this funding to purchase new books, add bookshelves, make improvements to their catalog systems, and expand their programing. Since the grant program’s launch in 2015, $3.5 million has been given to school libraries nationwide, with all funds personally donated by Patterson.
As Patterson is quoted on the Scholastic website, “Here’s to communities supporting school libraries. Here’s to a country that makes reading a priority. Here’s to flourishing libraries and to a joyful holiday season!”