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Marines & Sailors Share “Lending Library” on USS BATAAN


Judith’s Reading Room announces the opening of its 75th library since its inception four years ago. Local Marine Zachary Oberdorfer confirmed receipt of nine boxes of books sent earlier this month that were packed by volunteers at the April 7th Boxing Party held at the organization’s headquarters in Bethlehem, PA. Zachary said that “he and his bunk mates had set up a library and every book has been lent out.” The shipment included 106 books valued at $1,974.

The USS BATAAN (LDH 5) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship named to honor the defense of the Bataan Peninsula on the western side of Manila Bay in the Philippines during the early days of US involvement in WW II. It is based out of Norfolk, VA. The mission of BATAAN is to enable the Navy and Marine Corps team to accomplish a seamless transition from the sea to the land battle, as the lead ship and centerpiece of an Amphibious Readiness Group. Its flight deck and well deck also make it the ideal platform for non-combatant evacuation and disaster relief operations.

Zachary’s mother, Linda, said she had heard from her son this morning (first time in a few weeks). She conveyed the message that the Marines and Sailors are “so grateful for the books and the good thoughts” in the hand-written letters by Judith’s Reading Room Boxers. “The USS BATAAN, its Marines and Sailors thank all of you,” Zachary added.

Judith’s Reading Room has opened 75 libraries in 11 countries, six states and has donated more than 82,000 books valued at nearly $825,000.

Libraries on the USS GEORGE H. W. BUSH (CVN 77)

George H. W. Bush CarrierChildren’s library on board the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77)

Over the last three years Judith’s Reading Room has donated two libraries aboard the USS GEORGE H.W. Bush (CVN 77) aircraft carrier. This has been an ongoing effort and a primary focus of Judith’s Reading Room’s Holiday Book Drives in 2012 and 2013.

The first library, for the Sailors, was established in March of 2011. Since then, shipments are made monthly, in honor of Charles A. Horne, Jr., a WWII naval hero and uncle of the Co-Founders to this aircraft carrier, home to 4,500 Sailors.

Children's Library on board USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77)In July of 2012 the co-founders were extended a tour around the carrier which included the library the book Judith’s Reading Room sends. It was then that they came to understand that Sailors are invited to read children’s books on tape and then tapes are sent to the families.

The donation in December 2012 of a children’s library on board the USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (CVN 77) aircraft carrier was announced. This second library Judith’s Reading Room provides Sailors more opportunities to stay connected with their children while serving overseas for long periods of time. The Sailors read to their children when the Skype home! In 2013, George H. W. Bush started up a new campaign with United Through Reading (UTR).

Oct 1, 2013

Hi Cathy,

What you and your team do is such a wonderful gesture and the crew
of the George H. W. Bush is very grateful. We will be starting up a new
campaign with the UTR (united through reading) this month this will
generate lots of use of the books…

We are very excited about getting more books this increases the
variety of books available to the crew, also be apart of family life
even when we’re deployed. Thank you very much for what you’ve done for
our crew it really makes a difference. You can count on me to support
Judith’s Reading Room it’s plays a huge role in the everyday life of
crew and the Dorothy Bush Koch library…

RP1(SW/AW) Celeste A. Shield

BASD’s Community Service Program

Bethlehem Area School District

 The Bethlehem Area School District’s Board of School Directors recently approved Judith’s Reading Room as part of  BASD’s community service program.

Community Service provides an opportunity for students to acquire life skills, develop leadership skills, and explore career choices. Beginning in 1990, the Bethlehem Area School District instituted a revised curriculum that included approved community service for all students.    Students receive credit upon completion of the required hours and may be considered for awards and honors. A special recognition, a silver cord, is presented to graduates with 135 hours for their distinguished service. More and more colleges are recognizing community service activities. Some offer scholarship opportunities for service.

For more information please contact us.


Doris Leiber – March 2014 Volunteer of The Month

Doris Leiber is named March Volunteer of the Month. DMLDoris, who hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, was Judith F. Krug’s aunt and mother of co-founder Scott Leiber.  Every year when she visits the Leiber clan she volunteers at Judith’s Reading Room.  In April, 2013, Judith’s Reading Room honored Doris by agreeing to ship 50 new and gently-read children’s books every other month to the Canandaigua, New York VA hospital.   The hospital reached out to the organization because they said they were seeing many young vets with children, who had nothing to read in the waiting rooms.  Dedicating these shipments to Canandaigua was a natural because Doris is a native New Yorker, a veteran of WW II and a mother of five!  Doris, a member of the Greatest Generation and Navy veteran, WWII, where she served as a WAVE based in the Bay Area, will turn 91 in August.  Thank you, Doris, for your service to our country and to Judith’s Reading Room!

Grant awarded from the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation

Lehigh Valley Community FoundationJudith’s Reading Room is pleased to announce that they have been awarded  a $5000 grant from the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. This grant specifically supports Judith’s Reading Room’s Birth-2-Five Program. The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation promotes philanthropy in order to improve the quality of life in the region. The check will be presented by Lehigh Valley Community Foundation at Judith’s Reading Room’s  Annual Board meeting.

The Birth-2-Five Program provides literacy outreach to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs in the Lehigh Valley, PA. The partnership with WIC reaches children from birth to 5 years of age who

  • come from families of inter-generational poverty,
  • are not registered in traditional learning programs, and
  • do not have ready access to books,

which causes them to start school not ready to learn.

To address these educational gaps, we build each child’s first home library and supply bi-lingual read-aloud educational materials that proactively engage parents.

Since its inception in February 2013, the Birth-2-Five Program has reached over 5,000 children in the Lehigh Valley. Over 5,000 Parent’s Pledges, a vow to read aloud for twenty minutes daily, have been collected and 8,138 books have been distributed to children at the WIC offices.

For more information on the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, please visit them at www.lvcfoundation.org.

Books Filling a Gap in an Educational Crisis!

logoTwo Philadelphia-based Boys & Girls clubs are the recipients of 750 new books from Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization in Bethlehem, Pa.

Cathy Leiber, who cofounded Judith’s Reading Room with her husband Scott, delivered the two mobile library carts to the Wissahickon Boys & Girls Club at 328 W. Coulter St., Philadelphia on Monday, Dec. 23 in advance of a 2 p.m. dedication. The Germantown Boys & Girls Club will also receive a cart.

The books will be used in the club’s Literacy Program, says Libby Lescalleet, executive program officer.  “The more access to books we provide for our kids, the more opportunities they have to dream big,” she says, noting the two facilities serve about 400 youth.

Lescalleet says a focus of the Boys & Girls Club is to augment public education by providing strong literacy and STEM (Science Technology and Math) programs for the population it serves.

“There’s such an education crisis in our schools we need to fill some of those gaps for our kids,” she says.  In addition to the two libraries, which are valued at more than $7,350, Judith’s Reading Room is providing 50 new children’s books for the elementary students who attend the Boys & Girls Club. Leiber will hand them out after the dedication to the students who are present.

The libraries are being donated in honor of Maya Polack, a teacher who graduated from St. Joseph’s University.

Sunday’s Morning Call Feature

Today’s Sunday Morning Call feature! Judith’s Reading Room spreads the ABC’s of literacy! A great article!

mc-judithsrr001-jpg-20131130Judith’s Reading Room has come a long way since its origins in Scott and Cathy Leiber’s Williams Township home.

Not very long geographically, mind you. It is now headquartered in a modest back office on East Third Street in south Bethlehem.

But the books that are its reason for being — the whole spectrum of literature from “Amelia Bedelia” to “Zombie Apocalypse” — have made their way from that nondescript spot to Mazer-Sharif in Afghanistan and Korce in Albania and Padang in Indonesia and a host of other places hardly anyone could pinpoint on a map.

They have also landed closer to home, at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital, St. Luke’s KidsCare and many other institutional settings: children’s homes, veterans hospitals, senior centers.

Judith’s Reading Room Expands to China

On October 31, Judith’s Reading Room announced the opening of its first library in mainland China to serve schools in a remote and impoverished region of Yunnan Province. The organization was contacted by Frances Deram, an American teacher affiliated with the non-profit Teach for China. Her compelling plea to send children’s books in English to help close the gap of education inequality in China resonated with the organization, whose mission is to enrich lives by providing books to those who do not have access to them.

Ms. Deram said, “the majority of our students do not have money to buy new clothes, much less books outside of the required curriculum. For the first time, students will be able to look beyond their English textbook and see the world from another country’s perspective.” Teach for China is a non-profit organization that recruits and trains the most talented and dedicated young leaders from China and the USA to place Fellows in low-income schools as full-time educators for two years.

Judith’s Reading Room has opened 58 libraries in three years containing 62,687 books worth nearly $640,000. In addition to China, the organization has opened libraries in 10 countries outside the United States –Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Albania, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Japan and Namibia.

The organization depends heavily on gently-read book donations from members of the local community. Recently four teenagers conducted book drives which resulted in the collection of nearly 4,000 books. Jared Fantasia, a junior at Northampton Area High School, whose book drive brought in 2,871 books, requested that all of his children’s books be shipped to schools in China.

Books provided by Judith’s Reading Room to Teach for China, will be used for two main purposes: free reading for outside the classroom and supplemental texts to be used in class, according to Ms. Deram. She added, “my goal is to have a lasting English impact at our school.”

Celebrating Banned Books Through Dance

Sept. 26, 2013 “The Emotive Powers of Literature: Celebrating Banned Books Through Dance. A Banned Book Week event, an event presented by Judith’s Reading Room at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA The event, created in collaboration with Muhlenberg’s Six Meters improvisational dance ensemble, focused on Persepolis and 40 other books that have been banned and challenged. Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi’s award-winning graphic novel that was removed from Chicago Public School classes earlier this year.

Bryn Mawr Book Donation!

Staff and administrators at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital on Malvern PA collected and donated 787 children’s books. The books will go to families with children under the age of 5 where there are no books in the home and to US troops serving at Camp Phoenix in Kabul where they give books to village elders as “peace offerings”.