2023 Literacy Chair Award

CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

  Judith’s Reading Room names winner of its  2023 Literacy Chair Award
Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System Highlighted for its Road Trip project

July 12, 2023 — Judith’s Reading Room, a global nonprofit organization based in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, announced today the winner of its 2nd Annual Literacy Chair Award — the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System — for its innovative “CCLS Road Trip” project, a summertime initiative that seeks to remind everyone that libraries have a lot to offer and encourages the public to get back into the library. 

From June 1st – August 31st, member libraries are giving away free Road Trip maps that pave the way for residents to visit the participating libraries, like a scavenger hunt.  Exciting programming, crafts and story time programs are offered at each library with plenty of incentives designed to excite families looking for something to do during the summer. 

“Based on the positive and fun feedback from those who participated last year and from our librarians, we are excited to see the community come out for this year’s Road Trip. We have 38 libraries in our system, and each one will offer families something different to enjoy this summer,” stated LJ Martin, Outreach & Youth Services Consultant, CCLS.

Judith’s Reading Room voted the “CCLS Road Trip” project as winner of its  2023 Literacy Chair Award because the project perfectly addresses “summer slide,” the so-called loss of reading competency while students eschew books over more playful activities.  “The Road Trip instills a sense of wanderlust and each library showcases the perfect books for the perfect readers, thanks to the librarians who have created unique environments within their libraries,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.

In 2022, the founders of Judith’s Reading Room happened upon the Bemus Point Public Library and met its director, Shannon Donovan.  Shannon did a “first-rate” public relations job in explaining the “CCLS Road Trip.” For her enthusiastic support of reading for fun and for offering a unique, cozy feel at her library, it was decided that the 2023 Literacy Chair Award would find a home in her library on behalf of all 38 system libraries. 

Judith’s Reading Room commissioned sculptor Kirsten Engstrom to design a piece that would illustrate the power of literacy through art. Her clay sculpture of a seated woman with a beaming smile, holding an open book in her lap will be awarded to Bemus Point Public Library Director, Shannon Donovan at a reception in August.  Kirsten Engstrom’s work may be seen throughout Chautauqua Institution and in the town of Mayville, NY.

The Award will be given at a reception in honor of the “CCLS Road Trip” project on Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at 3 p.m.  Librarians and “road trippers” are cordially invited.

Judith’s Reading Room

Judith’s Reading Room, a 501 (c) 3 literacy organization was founded in 2010 in the memory of the founders’ first cousin, Judith F. Krug, who served as Director for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association for over 40 years.  Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  We have fulfilled that mission by establishing 105 libraries (and counting) in 23 countries with over 132,000 donated books.  

Applications for the 2024 Freedom Through Literacy Award will be posted on October 5, 2023 at www.judithsreadingroom.org.  The Award honors individual champions of literacy from all disciplines around the world — teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, nonprofit literacy organizations and educators — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  Since 2015, 60 champions of literacy from 17 countries have been awarded $53,000 in cash prizes.

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