FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY — Earlier this year, James Patterson announced a personal pledge of $1.75 million to save school libraries in the second installment of his School Library Campaign. Today, he distributes these funds to 452 schools across the country, in grants that range from $1,000 to $10,000. In partnership with Scholastic Reading Club, the Patterson Pledge program was launched in 2015 as part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a priority for children in the United States. Listen to Patterson’s exclusive interview about the critical need for school libraries on the “Scholastic Reads” podcast: http://oomscholasticblog.com/podcast/james-patterson-saving-lives-libraries.
Patterson also pledged $1.75 million in grants to school libraries in the first iteration of the campaign, bringing his total contribution to date to $3.5 million. Since the program launched, Patterson and Scholastic Reading Club have received over 32,000 entries to the library grant programs and awarded funds to over 900 recipients. School libraries across the country used this funding to purchase new books, add bookshelves, make improvements to their catalog systems, and expand their programming. Scholastic matches each dollar with bonus points that allow teachers to buy classroom materials, including books. Patterson believes that enhancements to school libraries will not only help to foster a love of reading but will boost academic achievement overall.
“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.”
The most prevalent request on behalf of schools concerned the dire need for funding. Again and again, teachers, librarians, and principals wrote about budget cuts and a dearth of state funding that have left their schools without books, shelves, materials, and, in many cases, librarians. According to Teresa Israel, school librarian at P.S. 62, a large Title I school in the Richmond Hill section of Queens, NY, “Our school library is the only library many of our kids get to use…as many of our kids are living in poverty. The estimated age range of our books was from [1994 and 1995], and [this grant] made sure there are now high-quality books. This grant has been a wonderful thing for our school community. I want to thank Scholastic and James Patterson for this grant.”
“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. The amazing outpouring from schools combined with the continued generosity of James Patterson helped us solidify a second year of grants to help more children have access to high-quality books and, ultimately, revive school libraries. We are proud to announce this year’s new grant recipients and thank James Patterson for his continued personal commitment to save school libraries.”
The full list of schools receiving grants is available online at www.scholastic.com/pattersonpartnership/recipients. Patterson hopes that teachers and students will share their experiences in their communities using #pattersonpledge. All funds are being personally donated by James Patterson.
James Patterson received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at the 2015 National Book Awards. His other awards include two Emmys, the Edgar Award, and the Children’s Choice Award for Author of the Year. He is a tireless champion of the power of books and reading, exemplified by his new children’s book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say: “PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.” He has donated more than one million books to students and soldiers and has over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at 24 colleges and universities. He has also donated millions to independent bookstores and school libraries. Patterson will be investing proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family. www.jamespatterson.com.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of print and digital instructional materials for pre-K to grade 12, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. The company creates quality books and ebooks, print and technology-based learning programs, classroom magazines, and other products that, in combination, offer schools customized solutions to support children’s learning both at school and at home. The company also makes quality, affordable books available to all children through school-based book clubs and book fairs. With a 96-year history of service to schools and families, Scholastic continues to carry out its commitment to “Open a World of Possible” for all children. Learn more at www.scholastic.com.