We want our individually-prepared libraries to be a universal symbol representing the ideal that every person around the world deserves access to literature, which has the power to transport and transform.
Judith’s Reading Room, established in 2010, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of the state of Pennsylvania. Based in eastern Pennsylvania, Judith’s Reading Room will endeavor to serve, in particular, that region. In addition, Judith’s Reading Room actively supports global organizations; including military wounded who are recuperating from their injuries, as well as active-duty military men and women serving overseas.
The founders are also motivated in the creation of Judith’s Reading Room in honor of Irving L. Leiber and Jon Leiber. Father (and father-in-law) and brother (and brother-in-law) of the founders who, for different medical reasons, temporarily or permanently resided within an institutional environment, such as the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, and for whom reading material was or is essential to their well-being.
Meet the members of the all-volunteer Board of Directors
Cathy L. Leiber, President
Cathy co-founded Judith’s Reading Room with her husband Scott in 2009 after retiring as bi-lingual senior executive, following a successful 26 year career in marketing, strategic planning and corporate affairs for global consumer products company. Geographic exposure included assignments in the USA, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Set strategic direction, led the communications effort and served as spokesperson for firm’s Latin America region.
Cathy speaks Spanish at the professional level, earned her back-belt in Karate and since 2005 has been a Penn State Master Gardener. Cathy is also a Founding Member of Good Shepherd Women’s Giving Circle, 2009 to present.
M.B.A., Marketing, Pace University, New York with honor
B.A., International Relations, University of California at Davis
Linda M. Wellstein,
Vice President – International
Linda M. Wellstein is Partner and Chair of the Global Technology, Telecommunications and Media Practice in Washington, DC of WELLSTEIN MORA RODRIGUEZ INTERNATIONAL, PC and formerly Resident Partner in Washington DC and Managing Partner of the Latin America and Caribbean office of a US Telecommunications firm based in Caracas, Venezuela. Ms. Wellstein has over twenty-five years of international telecommunications and technology commercial, transactional, regulatory and policy experience. Linda has extensive experience in the negotiations of commercial transactions in the telecommunications, technology and infrastructure industries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Beside being Vice President – International Board Member of Judith’s Reading Room, Ms. Wellstein is Vice-President of the US and Canada, and Chair of the Industries Strategies Committee of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA), a non-profit organization promoting private sector-led economic development in the Caribbean Basin for over three decade and is currently the Chair of the Global Communications and Information Technology Committee of the International Section of the District of Colombia Bar. Ms. Wellstein is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association’s International Telecommunications and Transactional Practice Committees.
Ms. Wellstein received her Honors Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University and her Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center where she served as a member of a law review. In addition to English, Ms. Wellstein is fluent in Spanish and a student of French.
Scott Leiber, Treasurer
Scott Leiber’s domestic and international professional business background spans 30 years in the field of financial services. As a Financial Advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors, Scott presently advises in the management of the investment portfolios of individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Scott also focuses his practice on the Nonprofit / Philanthropic Sector. The emphasis on fine-tuning a responsible Investment Policy Statement by a nonprofit, the need to bolster the fiduciary responsibilities of the nonprofit, and, accordingly, the need to follow through with a responsible investment portfolio, encompassing the Investment Policy Statement of the nonprofit, in part, describes the financial management guidance skill set Scott provides.
For Scott, as co-founder of Judith’s Reading Room, the motivation to create this particular charity and perpetuate its mission as a member of its Board of Directors, stems from the fact that regardless of the technological advances made, children and adults, more than ever, must continue to embrace and appreciate the gift of reading to advance the standards of society worldwide.
Marissa is an Audit Associate for KPMG LLP in Los Angeles, CA and is expecting her CPA license approval by the State of California in August 2013. Received Encore Recognition Award on eight separate occasions; for exceeding expectations in leadership and productivity, professional client work satisfaction, hard work, a team player, and commitment in recruitment efforts. Marissa has also participated in the Junior Achievement program at an elementary school in Los Angeles.
Marissa is a member of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA) and Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Incorporated. Marissa participated in the USC Learning International Commerce Program in Taiwan, has traveled to Mexico, lived and studied in Venezuela.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Leventhal School of Accounting
Bachelor of Science in Accounting, May 2011
Chiji Akoma, PhD.
Chiji Akoma is Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Literatures in the department of English at Villanova University, Pennsylvania. Akoma was born and had most of his formal education in Nigeria. After obtaining his Master’s degree in English at University of Ibadan, Nigeria, he worked in media houses and was Senior Editor at Information Network Ltd, in Lagos, before he proceeded to the US to pursue a doctoral degree in English at Binghamton University—State University of new York. After a three year teaching stint at Loyola University Chicago, Akoma has been at Villanova since 2001. Author of the book, Folklore in New World Black Fiction (The Ohio State University Press), Akoma’s essays have also appeared in recognized journals in his discipline. He considers himself a failed poet, but appreciates Spoken Word poetry and other oral performance traditions. Akoma is the current Vice President of the International Society for the oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA).
Akoma is married to Musowa and they have three wonderful children. When not grading student papers or writing one, he enjoys reading current affairs, watching Seinfeld reruns, the Daily Show with John Stewart, and singing to soul-edifying music.
A little side story. My father majored in English, and right from my earliest recollections of reading, my dad would buy me books, and on the frontispiece he would write my name, prefaced by the titular abbreviation, “Prof.” And so I had grown on the spine of books. When I was introduced to Judith’s Reading Room, I was immediately drawn in by the idea of an organization with a simple but powerful mission: Free the mind, read!
Daniel currently works at Sodexo Dining Services at Lafayette College and is the sustainability coordinator and provides the daily vegan/vegetarian options. His past culinary and wine work experience spans Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Florida.
Daniel created, with the farmers market manager, The Growing Gourmet Series at The Steel Stacks Farmers Market, where Daniel paired up with a Penn State Master Gardener to give educational talks on growing and cooking your own food. Accompanied with a cooking demo. Currently on Daniel’s farm, he has 14 hens, one rooster, 8 head of sheep, an acre of pasture, and vegetable plots.
Daniel is on the board of Judith’s Reading Room and the Bethlehem Temple Association Masonic Lodge where a large part of time is spent volunteering. Daniel also practices Reiki (hands on healing), which positively charges my plants, animals, and my food.
Why I love being on the board of JRR is because of the smiles! When we donate a library to an organization which serves people that have no access to books, their eyes light up and there is a smile a mile wide across their face, and that’s what I love!
David is a 2013 graduate of New York’s Pratt Institute School of Architecture with a B.S. in Construction Management. While attending Pratt, David worked as a site superintendent for Excel in charge of scheduling, coordinating and supervising subcontractors, scheduling pick-ups and deliveries and supervising site safety and overall maintenance of job site. David is 30 hour OSHA certified and 4 hour support scaffold user certified. Prior to attending Pratt, David received an A.A. in Architecture from Northampton Community College and worked for R&D Architecture in Easton, PA and Lewis Brothers Builders in Quakertown, PA.
Bernadette Lewis is an information and communication technologies (ICT) specialist with more than 25 years of experience in the field. She is passionate about ensuring that the citizens of the Caribbean have affordable access to ICT and are able to use them effectively to transform their lives.
Bernadette has worked extensively with young people for many years, providing training in craft drama and programmes designed to build esteem.
An exhibited artist, Bernadette’s focus has been on the old buildings and gingerbread houses of Trinidad and Tobago.
What attracted Bernadette to Judith’s Reading Room?
“It is a great cause. Children need to read good books.”
Ana Ramirez Luhrs
Ana Ramirez Luhrs has been a librarian for ten years and is currently a research and reference librarian at Lafayette College in Easton, PA.
Judith’s Reading Room’s emphasis on the freedom to read, especially frequently banned and challenged books, is what first attracted her to the organization. The organization’s dedication to promoting early childhood literacy and intellectual freedom are what keep her passionate about her work with Judith’s Reading Room.
Erin D’Amelio is a recent graduate from Lafayette College with a summa cum laude degree in English and French. A resident of Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, she has developed a great appreciation for the pleasure that is a good book. It is this passion for reading that has inspired her to spread the power of literacy and the love of literature. Currently, Erin is fulfilling a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Scholarship in Malaysia, where she will be teaching English to secondary school students for ten months.