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NYC Councilmember Andy King & The New York Public Library Team Up To Show Bronx Kids That “Reading is Cool!”

New York, NY — New York City Councilmember Andy King (12th CD/Bronx) and The New York Public Library are inviting students in King’s Bronx district to visit their local branches and participate in a new reading challenge called “Reading is Cool!”

The month-long initiative launches at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 1 with a kick-off event at the Library’s Eastchester branch, located at 1385 East Gun Hill Rd., Bronx. Councilmember King, NYPL President Tony Marx, local students, the Library’s lion mascot, and Mr. Met – mascot for Major League Baseball’s National League champion New York Mets, who support the initiative – will attend.  

Councilmember King – hoping to engage reluctant readers and students who do not frequent their local branches outside of school visits – worked with the Library to secure special shelves of books in the four branches in his Northeast Bronx district: Eastchester, Baychester, Edenwald and Wakefield. The shelves will be filled with 20 titles – from picture books to graphic novels – specifically chosen for Councilmember King’s community by expert NYPL librarians who evaluated which titles were checked out most by youngsters and teens in recent months at those four branches.

Students in nearby schools will be encouraged to read at least one book from the list in the month of March. If they do, they will be invited to a wrap-up pizza party on March 31 at the Wakefield Library.

The “Reading is Cool!” campaign is the brain child of Councilmember King who is considering this initiative as a pilot that he hopes to scale up to the rest of the City.

“This highly motivational campaign which features celebrity announcements, colorful posters, and dedicated reading lists in the libraries encourages families to regularly visit their nearby library and browse through the selections with their children,” said Councilmember King, Chair of the City Council’s Subcommittee on Libraries and a longtime supporter of library early literacy initiatives such as Summer Reading. “Books stimulate the imagination and open our minds to the world – that’s why “Reading is Cool!”

“The Library is always looking for new ways to engage kids and teens, inspiring them to get off of social media, turn off their TVs, and get lost in great books,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “We are excited to partner with Councilmember King on this very ‘cool’ initiative to inspire students to read.”

“Councilman King has always been a great supporter of our branch, which sees countless visits from children and teens – but is always eager to welcome more,” said Eastchester Library Manager Joan Aikens, who is excited about the initiative. “We’re sure that with this new program – with books specifically chosen for our kids and teens – we will develop some new lifelong readers.”

The start of the reading challenge is also accompanied by the launch of a “Reading is Cool!” PSA secured by Councilmember King. In it, celebrities such as Angela Lansbury, Terrence J and Jurnee Smollett and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declare “Reading is Cool!” It is set to run throughout the month of March on various Cablevision stations.

Those who participate in the “Reading is Cool!” campaign on social media should use the hashtag: #READINGISCOOL

Media Contacts:

Stephannia Cleaton/ scleaton@council.nyc.gov

Adenike Olanrewaju /adenikeolanrewaju@nypl.org  

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.

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