Banned Books Week at Harkins House

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

Judith’s Reading Room Celebrates Banned Books Week
Harkins House Receives Collection of YA Books 

22 September 2023 Hillsboro, Oregon —In recognition of Banned Books Week, the global literacy nonprofit organization Judith’s Reading Room hosted a special event at Washington County’s Harkins House with a donation of mostly banned or challenged YA fiction, nonfiction and graphic novels.   The organization established a library at the residential home in May 2012.

Judith F. Krug, a prominent First Amendment and library activist, in whose memory Judith’s Reading Room was founded in 2010, fervently believed that no one should tell another person what they can or cannot read.  Judy is credited with creating Banned Books Week in 1982 in her capacity as Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association in Chicago, Illinois .  

Every year, the American Library Association compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools.  It is notable that 2022 marked the year when demands to censor library resources was the highest since the ALA began compiling data about censorship more than 20 years ago.

Scott Leiber, co-founder, Judith’s Reading Room and first cousin to Judy will make brief remarks to the residents and staff at Harkins House about Judy’s lifetime commitment to the First Amendment.  For over 40 years, Judy led the American Library Association’s prestigious Office for Intellectual Freedom.  In that capacity, she defended librarians, teachers, authors and book publishers who came under attack for offering books that someone objected to. 

To honor the spirit of Banned Books Week, Judith’s Reading Room purchased many of the top challenged books to donate to Harkins House including:  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie, Lawn Boy by Evison, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Chbosky and Looking for Alaska by Green.

“These books are intended to provide fun for youth impacted by the Juvenile Justice System residing at Harkins House,” said Cathy L. Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.  “Research shows that reading for pleasure can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being,” she added.

Today’s donation brings to a total 631 books donated since 2012 to Harkins House at a value of $7,874.  This demonstrates the organization’s on going commitment to support the education and mental health of young people by providing them books that can help navigate difficult times and build resilience.

The mission of Judith’s Reading Room is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  Its signature event, the annual Freedom Through Literacy Award honors teachers, authors, and librarians who have done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  To date the organization has dedicated 105 libraries in 23 countries, serving tens of thousands of children and adults with more than 132,000 books donated worth $1.4 million.

To apply for the 2024 Freedom Through Literacy Award, visit the organization’s website on October 5, 2023 at www.judithsreadingroom.org.  The deadline for applications is February 5, 2024.


 

2023 Literacy Chair Award Celebration

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

 Government Officials Declare Support of the
Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System
Judith’s Reading Room hosts 2023 Literacy Chair Award Winner

 

August 15, 2023 — Judith’s Reading Room, a global nonprofit literacy organization based in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, celebrated 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. 

More than three dozen Chautauqua-Cattaragus county library board members, librarians and library staff, teachers, and politicians joined Scott and Cathy Leiber, co-founders of Judith’s Reading Room, at today’s celebratory event at Bemus Point Public Library in western New York.  Chautauqua County Executive Paul Wendel, and a representative of Nicholas Langworthy’s (NY-23) Congressional Office and Andrew Goodell’s NYS Assembly’s office spoke about the importance of community libraries and underlined their support for librarians.  

Government officers recognize importance of libraries and underscore their commitment to them.

Government officers recognize importance of libraries and underscore their commitment to them.

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, while on vacation, the founders of Judith’s Reading Room visited the Bemus Point Public Library and met its director, Shannon Donovan.  Donovan 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 Judith’s Reading Room’s Literacy Chair Award would be awarded to Shannon on behalf of the other 37 librarians in the CCLS system. 

 

Shannon Donovan receives recognition for her role in promoting the winning 2023 Literacy Chair Award. Sculpture by Kirsten Engstrom.

Shannon Donovan receives recognition for her role in promoting the winning 2023 Literacy Chair Award. Sculpture by Kirsten Engstrom.

LJ Martin, Outreach & Youth Services Consultant, CCLS, was also honored at today’s event.  Leiber acknowledged that the idea for the “Road Trip” had been created and incubated at the county level.  To encourage Martin and her team’s continued imagination and community outreach, she was recognized for the important role administrators play in executing county-wide initiatives. 

 

LJ Martin, Outreach & Youth Services, CCLS Library System created “Road Trip” program. She is presented with a Kirsten Engstrom sculpture.

LJ Martin, Outreach & Youth Services, CCLS Library System created “Road Trip” program. She is presented with a Kirsten Engstrom sculpture.

Judith’s Reading Room commissioned sculptor Kirsten Engstrom to design sculptures that would illustrate the power of literacy through art. Her clay sculptures of a seated woman with a beaming smile, holding an open book in her lap will grace the entrance at Bemus Point Public Library and at the executive offices of LJ Martin.  Engstrom’s work may be seen throughout Chautauqua Institution and in the town of Mayville, NY.

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.

 

2023 Literacy Chair Award

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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.

Reading for Fun at ‘Harkins House’ Builds Resilience

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CONTACT:  Cathy Leiber

Literacy is a Significant Protective Factor for At-Risk Youth
— Reading for Fun at ‘Harkins House’ Builds Resilience —

9 May 2023 — Washington County’s Harkins House and Judith’s Reading Room, a global nonprofit literacy organization, today announced their latest collaboration to enhance Judith’s Reading Room’s library established there in 2012.

Today’s donation of 46 books curated by Harkins House staff is intended to provide books for fun for youth impacted by the Juvenile Justice System residing at ‘Harkins House’ in Hillsboro, Oregon. The donation is part of Judith’s Reading Room’s ongoing efforts to support the education and mental health of young people around the world.

The books cover a wide range of genres, from adventure and mystery to science fiction, and were carefully selected by Harkins House staff affirming that reading for fun can be a powerful tool to help young people navigate difficult times and build resilience.

“Research shows that reading for pleasure can have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. Our hope is that these books will provide a source of comfort, escape, and inspiration for the youth,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.

Judith’s Reading Room has donated a total of 581 books worth over $7,000 to Washington County Juvenile Detention Center’s ‘Harkins House,’ an organization that provides a range of services, including counseling, support groups, and mentorship, to help young people overcome challenges such as addiction, trauma, and family issues.

“We are thrilled to receive this generous donation from Judith’s Reading Room,” said Martha Villegas, Juvenile Service Supervisor. “Reading can be a powerful tool for self-reflection and personal growth, and we know that these books will be a valuable addition to our programs,” she added.

Judith’s Reading Room was established in 2010 in the memory of the founders’ first cousin, Judith F. Krug, a librarian and Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.  Its mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  Its signature event, the annual Freedom Through Literacy Award honors teachers, authors, and librarians who have done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.   To date, the organization has dedicated 105 libraries in 23 countries, serving tens of thousands of children and adults with more than 132,000 books donated worth more than $1.4 million. To learn more, visit www.judithsreadingroom.org.

Thank you so much for stopping by we appreciate your support and taking the time to fly out to meet with staff and youth. Today I came to work and had youths handing me names of books to keep in mind for next time you are out, which say’s a lot about their enthusiasm of reading. These are youth who report never picking up a book to read for fun in their life.

Continue the good work! We look forward to fostering an ongoing partnership with “Judith’s Reading Room”. We have many ideas so we hope to apply for your grant/prize next year to support specific books that we can use in youth programming at Harkins House.

Martha Villegas
Juvenile Service Supervisor 

Winners of 2023 “Freedom Through Literacy Award.”

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CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org


Author who helps kids bring their biggest ideas to life wins

 2023 “Freedom Through Literacy Award” Grand Prize


February 13, 2023 — Judith’s Reading Room, a global nonprofit literacy organization founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a distinguished librarian, is pleased to announce the winners of its 9th annual “Freedom Through Literacy Award.”  The judges declared eight (8) champions of literacy with a combined financial award of $5,000.


“The organization’s global footprint expanded in 2023 thanks to the number of applications received from the U.S. and abroad,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.


2023 Grand Prize Winner


The $2,500 Grand Prize goes to award-winning children’s book author Ty Jackson for his youth financial literacy project:  “The Danny Dollar Entrepreneur Fair,” Fresno, California.  Ty, a previous winner of the coveted Judith’s Award, developed a creative program based on his book, Make Your Own Money:  How Kids Can Earn It, Save It, Spend It, and Dream Big.   The Danny Dollar Entrepreneur Fair premiered in 2022 in Pittsfield, MA where 300 fifth graders read his book and learned how they could start making, saving and spending money now. This program is successful because it makes reading fun and empowers kids to bring their ideas into the world.


“Ty teaches entrepreneurship to kids and in doing so, he is practicing what he preaches,” said Scott Leiber, co-founder, Judith’s Reading Room.  Ty hopes to expand the Entrepreneur Fair across the country.  He would love to hear from educators who would like to implement the program.  Reach out to rachael@bigheadbooks.com to find out more.


2023 Judith’s Award Winner


The $1,500 Judith’s Award winner is Amber Drinen for “R.E.A.D. in Beauty Bookmobile” project, an initiative of Chinle Planting Hope in Chinle, Arizona, a Native-controlled nonprofit that supervises the Bookmobile which serves 34,000 members of the Navajo Nation, where there is no public library.


There is great excitement about the Bookmobile, according to David Goldberg, MD, who notes in his letter of reference, “There is an ambitious, thoughtful plan to bring books and library programing to the communities surrounding Chinle.  Lives are about to be enriched; memories will be formed; and sparks of wonder are in the offing.” For example, Bookmobile staff provide assistance with laptops, internet and STEM activities while maintaining the on-board library of 10,000 catalogued books for children K-12.


Drinen adds, “Children must experience the joy of a good story and what it means to lose yourself in the pages. Reading gives simple breaks in our ordinary lives and helps us dream of more.”


2023 Board Option Award Winners


Victor Owuor, after -school program coordinator, the Sunflower Trust, Nairobi, Kenya for his project, “Pathway to Alternative Learning Education (PALE).”  As World Literacy Ambassador since 2022 representing Kenya, Victor understands what it means when one lacks resources to attend school:  He was born and bred in the informal settlement of Kibera slum, Nairobi.  Sunflower Trust works in partnership with community schools to identify girls, in the fifth grade, who are at risk of ending their education early and transitions them to the after-school, part-time PALE program.  At PALE, literacy groups help the girls develop critical thinking, communication and reasoning skills.  Sunflower is also committed to involving parents and caregivers through focus groups and one-on-one meetings.   The girls are challenged to write their own books which has encouraged them to read a variety of books to borrow ideas for their own stories.  “Literacy as leadership and a form of justice is at the core of our programming,” said Owuor.  He added, “while there are many literate youths in the world, there are few who are truly freely literate — whose voices are heard, whose opinions and beliefs are listened to and honored, and who have the ability to fully express themselves and be who they want to be.”  For his dedication to changing lives one at a time, Judith’s Reading Room awards Victor with a USD$400 Board Option Prize.


Colin Bloom, 16 year-old New York City high school student and founder of a literacy nonprofit for his project, “Creating a Library for Literacy at the Senianya Primary School in Mpumalanga, South Africa.”  Colin is a standout on multiple levels:  as a teenager, he established a nonprofit, Libraries for Literacy, has dedicated two libraries in impoverished rural South Africa, has assertively insinuated himself into partnerships with global entities, and has shown tenacity, drive, entrepreneurship, compassion and a desire to learn and improve from each experience.  As Colin points out, “Learning to read without books is like learning to play soccer without a ball, impossible but relevant to many South African kids who are expected to become literate without access to books.”  For his spirited determination to use his life to work towards the goal in which all children have access to a good education, Judith’s Reading Room awards Colin with a USD$200 Board Option Prize.


Evangelia Ritzaleou, award-winning high school teacher, Drama, Greece for her project, “School Reading and Creative Writing Club.”  Evangelia knows what she is talking about when she documents the effects of book clubs on kids — she has, after all, headed up a Reading and Creative Writing Club at her school for 15 years.  Her efforts have resulted in kids feeling that they are “equal” members of a club, and with this new-found confidence, they become effective speakers, writers, critical thinkers, listeners and communicators.  Evangelia has expanded her school library from 20 books to 530 and boasts that her school library serves not only as a place for reading and writing but also as a refuge for introverted kids.
She says, “Joining a Reading and Creative Writing Club is a path from literacy to critical literacy and that lifelong readers have the culture of reading instead of being addicted to social media.”  For her passionate commitment to enriching the lives of high school children through the beauty of a book club, Judith’s Reading Room awards Evangelia a USD$200 Board Option Prize.

Pamela Laskin, author, New York City for her project, “Diversity and Differently-Abled.”  Two-time Freedom Through Literacy Award winner, Laskin has completed a series of picture books that capture the world of those who are differently-abled; in particular, those without speech, and what it means in a family.   She reads these books aloud in public school classrooms with the goal to educate a mainstream audience.  Laskin says, “books have been written about children with special needs, but what makes my project innovative and creative is that the books are written from the point of view of the young people who ARE differently-abled.”  Through her work, this diverse population will no longer be marginalized.  For her insistence in presenting differently-abled people, she is helping establish human dignity with a focus on what can be done, not what can’t, Judith’s Reading Room awards Pamela with a USD$200 Board Option Prize.




Honorable Mentions


Cynthia Jacobsen, Ph.D. Speech Pathologist and Researcher, Longmont, Colorado for her life-work project, “Rhyming to Reading:  Early Literacy Curriculum.”  Dr. Jacobsen, co-authored Rhyming to Reading, an early literacy program for children 4-7 whose goal was to create a program to help young children learn skills that are highly predictive of early reading success. Thousands of children participated in the group classes at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics for 20 years prior to the COVID pandemic.  Dr. Jacobsen collected evidenced based outcomes and clinical data to develop the program.    She says, “Literacy instruction must be evidenced-based, with methods which are known to help children.”  For her life-time devotion to helping children and families learn methods to overcome literacy challenges such as dyslexia, Judith’s Reading Room wishes to give Dr. Jacobsen global recognition through an Honorable Mention.


Joseph Tsongo, Coordinator, Amani Academy, Goma, North-Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, for his project, “Amani Academy for Peace Literacy.”  Born in the middle of war in 1994 in the province of North Kivu, Joseph challenged himself to inspire young people to rebuild, despite the traumatic ordeals they were facing on a daily basis.  Since 2016, he has organized resilience and community building activities to promote a culture of active non-violence.  Through the Amani Academy, which he initiated in 2018, he introduces children to the basics of reading.  In 2022, Joseph was named a 2022 Mandela Washington Fellow, a program of the U.S. State Department.  For his determination to foster literacy and peace in the context of violent conflict, Judith’s Reading Room proudly recognizes Joseph Tsongo as a Freedom Through Literacy Award Honorable Mention.


Judith’s Reading Room


Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging Freedom Through Literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 105 libraries (and counting!) in 23 countries with more than 132,000 books donated worth $1.42 million dollars.


The “Freedom Through Literacy Award” was initiated in 2015 as the organization’s signature event.  Including the 2023 winners, the organization has disbursed $53,500 in cash awards to 60 champions of literacy.  Winners hail from 17 countries:  Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Greece, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, South Africa, the United States of America and Zimbabwe.  Winners come from 11 U.S. states:  Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.


To learn more about Judith’s Reading Room and its full array of literacy awards, visit www.judithsreadingroom.org.


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Announcing – Pen Pals Across the World

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CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Judith’s Reading Room Announces a Global Collaboration

“Pen Pals Across the World”

Africa’s Ivory Coast and New York’s E. Harlem Students Share Life Stories

February 10, 2023 — Judith’s Reading Room applauded today a global collaboration between two of its “Freedom Through Literacy” Award winners: Mr. Toti Jean Marc Yale, founder and CEO of the NGO Education and English For You, based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Ms. Daliz Vasquez, Principal, Mosaic Preparatory Academy, East Harlem, New York who agreed to name each other’s schools as “Pen Pals.”

“Pen Pals Across the World,” was an idea spawned by Judith’s Reading Room and Mr. Yale, whose work with impoverished primary school children in the French-speaking African nation inspired the organization to honor him with a 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award Honorable Mention.  The organization subsequently made a donation of $600 to purchase English language books for the students.

Ms. Vasquez, her Vice Principal Ms. Wilson and numerous Mosaic Preparatory Academy teachers in East Harlem, NY, for their part, enthusiastically agreed to reciprocate by inviting their eager scholars to write letters to their new friends in this west African nation.  In 2021 and 2022 Mosaic’s former principal, Dr. Lisette Caesar won a Freedom through Literacy Award Honorable Mention and Board Option Prize, respectively.

“We estimate that initially 60 children from each location will participate in the Pen Pal project,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.”  She added, “Our aim is to figuratively shrink the 4,933 miles in distance between Abidjan and East Harlem by illustrating that families, friendships, concerns, fears and hopes are universal.”

To kick start the program and to assist the students in English, Judith’s Reading Room has provided funding for Mr. Yale to purchase 60 English dictionaries for each student participating in “Pen Pals Across the World.”

Mr. Yale wrote,

“I have the honor and immense pleasure on behalf of our community students and all the volunteers of the NGO Education and English for You to say to you from the bottom of my heart a big Thank You. For this program, we have worked in the past with students from the following countries: U.S, Canada, Mexico, Ukraine and Spain and we have never received support like Yours.  Thank you so much Judith’s Reading Room for all the Happiness you offer to the children of the world. I’m a living witness.” 

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Judith’s Reading Room Dedicates its 105 Library

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www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Judith’s Reading Room Dedicates its 105 Library

Organization fulfills “Book Wish List” from Louisiana youth in Residential Care

December 8, 2022 — Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy nonprofit founded in 2010 with its mission to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy, announced its 105th library dedicated in Ruston, Louisiana at the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home (LUMCFS), an organization providing intensive residential care to children from traumatic backgrounds with significant emotional and behavioral needs.  The 105th Judith’s Reading Room library contains 124 books valued at $1,449.

The founders of Judith’s Reading Room, Scott and Cathy Leiber, learned about the comprehensive therapeutic services of LUMCFS while on a riverboat cruise of the lower Mississippi River in September 2022.  While on an excursion, Lynette Tanner, owner of Frogmore, a working cotton farm in rural Louisiana, shared with the Leibers her passion for supporting the mission of LUMCFS. “The compassionate work of LUMCFS to provide services to the most vulnerable boys and girls ages 11-17 caught our attention,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.

With the idea that children healing from trauma can “get out of their heads” and into a good story with a book and find solace, they might also find friends who are interested in the same author.  The book wish list was compiled by the youth and includes best-selling and award winning books by Christopher Paolini, Dav Pilkey, Scott Cawthon, Rick Riordan, R.L. Stine, Tui Sutherland and Jeff Kinney.  Judith’s Reading Room has committed to replenishing the books since it is hoped that children will take their favorite books with them when they return to a stable home or loving household.

“Children come to LUMCFS from all kinds of challenging situations, and while they are with us, we aim to provide the love and care that is so needed.  We are grateful to Judith’s Reading Room for supporting the healing journey of these children through reading,” shares Sarah Head, LUMCFS Director of Development.


UPDATES

Winter 2023 – PATHWAYS

Pathway's Article "A New Chapter for our Kids". aka Judith's Reading Room's Library 105

Click to access Pages-from-Final-Pathways_LoRes.pdf

 

Judith’s Reading Room

Judith’s Reading Room was founded in 2010 in the memory of the founders’ first cousin, Judith F. Krug, who served as Director of Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association for 40 years.  The organization has fulfilled its mission by establishing 105 libraries (and counting!) in 23 countries with 132,000 books worth $1,421,000.

“The Freedom Through Literacy Award,” established in 2015, honors individual champions of literacy from all disciplines around the world— teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, nonprofit literacy organizations, educators — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading To date, the organization has disbursed $48,500 in cash awards to 47 individual champions of literacy.  Applications for the 2023 Freedom Through Literacy Award are available on-line at www.judithsreadingroom.org.  The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2023.

The Founders’ Award, inaugurated in September 2022, is a cash prize at the discretion of Judith’s Reading Room co-founders, Scott and Cathy Leiber, to honor literacy heroes who have had to overcome immense obstacles in order to enrich lives through literacy.  Two winners were named in 2022 with a cash prize of $1,000 each:  Ms. Basarat Kazim, Alif Laila Book Bus Society, Lahore, Pakistan and Ms. Simon Ke, Anjali House, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The Literacy Chair Award, established in October 2022, is in honor of —or in memory of — a champion of literacy nominated by a Judith’s Reading Room member of the Board of Directors.  Dr. Lisette Caesar, founder and past-principal of Mosaic Preparatory Academy in East Harlem, New York is the recipient of the 2022 Literacy Chair Award.

Louisiana United Methodist Children & Family Services (LUMCFS)

Louisiana United Methodist Children & Family Services is a nonprofit organization with a 120-year history dedicated to the well-being of Louisiana’s children and families.  LUMCFS programs include the state’s most intensive, comprehensive residential treatment in the three Methodist Children’s Homes; the OWL Equine Center’s therapeutic services for children; four Life Skills Training Centers for children in foster care; Methodist Foster Care’s therapeutic foster care program, the Kinship Navigator program, and the Louisiana Foster Care Support Organization; and the Family Counseling Center.  For more information, visit www.LUMCFS.org.

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Judith’s Reading Room Award Season Kicks Off Early

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CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Judith’s Reading Room Award Season Kicks Off Early
Announces New Schedule for its Freedom Through Literacy Award

November 1, 2022 — Judith’s Reading Room today announced a schedule change in its coveted global literacy award season.  Applications are available beginning November 1st, 2022 at www.judithsreadingroom.org for the 2023 Freedom Through Literacy Award. Deadline for submissions is February 1, 2023.

“We accelerated the calendar and placed the Freedom Through Literacy Award in the first quarter in order to make room later in the year for promoting our two newest awards, The Founders’ Award and The Literacy Chair Award, both inaugurated in 2022,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room. Details of all awards may be found at www.judithsreadingroom.org .

The annual Freedom Through Literacy Award recognizes the achievements of teachers, librarians, authors, booksellers, literacy  nonprofits — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading. Applicants are judged on five criteria including how their philosophy about literacy guides their work.

The organization’s $5,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award was inaugurated in 2015 to pay tribute to those on the front line of literacy. The 2023 Awards include $2,500 for the Grand Prize Winner and $1,500 for the Judith’s Award Winner. And, at the discretion of the Board of Directors, up to four applicants may share a Board Option Prize totaling $1,000.

To date, Judith’s Reading Room has awarded $48,500 to 47 individual winners (some have won twice) in 14 countries. The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 103 libraries (& counting!) in 22 countries with nearly 132,000 books donated worth over $1.42 million dollars.

 

Judith’s Reading Room Opens 104th Library

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CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Judith’s Reading Room Opens 104th Library in West Africa’s Ivory Coast
Commitment to global literacy fuels the PA literacy nonprofit organization

October 31, 2022 — Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy nonprofit founded in 2010, based in eastern Pennsylvania, announced today that it has established its 104th Judith’s Reading Room Library in its 23rd country: the Ivory Coast, West Africa.

For a decade, Judith’s Reading Room has responded to the “cry for help” from Peace Corps volunteers, Universities and literacy nonprofits in their quest to obtain books in English to achieve their assigned mission: get books into classrooms in Africa.

In fact, the organization has dedicated nine libraries in six African nations including Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and today the Ivory Coast. Since 2012, more than 100,000 children across Africa have benefitted from learning English through books donated by Judith’s Reading Room.

The 104th Judith’s Reading Room library is dedicated in collaboration with the Ivory Coast nonprofit Education & English For You, and its CEO and founder, Toti Jean-Marc Yale, a Judith’s Reading Room 2022 Freedom Through Literacy ‘Honorable Mention’ Award winner. His program promotes early childhood education, gender equality and English on a voluntary basis.

“The Little Red Hen, Boy and the Donkey, The Rabbit and the Turtle, are among 150 titles hand-picked by Yale’s organization to serve as a springboard for the promotion of English literacy in this French speaking West African country,” said Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.

“On behalf of all kids from our community, Anono, and our organization, Education and English for You, we say a Big Thanks for the donation of 150 English books for our library,” said Yale. He added, “Judith’s Reading Room remains from today, a springboard for our community students because of this great privilege to discover, read, travel, learn, acquire new knowledge through the diverse books we received. This is why Judith’s Reading Room is the source of happiness for all kids of this world, thanks to the support of the books they distribute each year.”


Judith’s Reading Room

Judith’s Reading Room was founded in 2010 in the memory of the founders’ first cousin, Judith F. Krug, who served as Director of Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association for 40 years. The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. We have fulfilled that mission by establishing 104 libraries (and counting!) in 23 countries with 132,000 books worth $1,421,000.

The Freedom Through Literacy Award, established in 2015 honors individual champions of literacy from all disciplines around the world — teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, nonprofit literacy organizations, educators — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading. To date, the organization has disbursed $48,500 in cash awards to 47 individual champions of literacy. Winners hail from 14 countries, including nine states in the United States. Applications for the 2023 Freedom Through Literacy Award are available at www.judithsreadingroom.org <https://www.judithsreadingroom.org/> beginning November 1, 2022.

The Founders’ Award, inaugurated in September 2022, is a cash prize at the discretion of Judith’s Reading Room co-founders, Scott and Cathy Leiber, to honor literacy heroes who have had to overcome immense obstacles in order to enrich lives through literacy. Ms. Basarat Kazim, Alif Laila Book Bus Society, Lehore, Pakistan and Ms. Simon Ke, Anjali House, Siem Reap, Cambodia are the recipients of the 2022 Award, each winning a cash prize of $1,000.

The Literacy Chair Award, inaugurated in October 2022, is in honor of a champion of literacy nominated by a Judith’s Reading Room member of the Board of Directors. Dr. Lisette Caesar, founder and past-principal of Mosaic Preparatory Academy in East Harlem, NY is the recipient of the 2022 Literacy Chair Award.

The organization chose Storytime Crafts, a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts to create the inaugural chair. Storytime creates beautifully crafted decoupage chairs, based on children’s books selected by their clients. The Snowy Day was Dr. Lisette Caesar’s favorite childhood book. The chair illustrates the power of literacy through art and is meant to inspire reluctant readers to explore a different way of reading a book. Dr. Liz’s chair has been permanently placed in the Mosaic Preparatory Academy school library.



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Judith’s Reading Room Inaugurates its Literacy Chair Award

NEWS RELEASE
CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Judith’s Reading Room Inaugurates its Literacy Chair Award

New York’s Dr. Lisette Caesar, past principal Mosaic Preparatory Academy, Recipient

October 3, 2022.  New York, New York — Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy nonprofit founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a librarian, dedicated an original piece of art — a decoupaged chair — of the Ezra Jack Keats famous The Snowy Day in honor of Dr. Lisette Caesar, founder and past principal of Mosaic Preparatory Academy, East Harlem, NY.  Dr. Caesar retired in June 2022.  It illustrates the power of literacy through art.

The Literacy Chair Award, inaugurated in October 2022, is in honor of or in memory of a champion of literacy nominated by a Judith’s Reading Room member of the Board of Directors.

“In recognition of her incessant and energetic focus to engage children in reading, Judith’s Reading Room names Dr. Lisette Caesar its first Literacy Chair Award recipient,” announced Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.   Dr. Caesar’s favorite childhood book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is the theme of the chair which is meant to spread the joy of reading.

As principal and founder of a Title 1 school, with a large population of students living in temporary housing, Dr. Caesar set as a goal to put 100 books into the hands of each of her scholars.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, she installed a Free Little Library so that the entire community could have books while the school was shutdown.  Her innovative Book Vending Machine, which rewards good behavior, has succeeded in increasing reading motivation and has been shared with several New York City schools.

For her lifetime of work centered on literacy, Caesar has been honored twice by Judith’s Reading Room.  First, in 2021, she was named its Freedom Through Literacy Award ‘Honorable Mention’ and this year she won a Freedom Through Literacy Board Option Award for her Book Vending Machine.

The Snowy Day chair was dedicated October 3rd

The Snowy Day chair was dedicated October 3rd in honor of Dr. Lisette Caesar, past principal of Mosaic Preparatory Academy, seated.  Standing (L) Ms. Ariel Birdoff, Librarian and (R) Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room

When asked who she thought should get the honor of sitting in The Snowy Day chair,? Dr. Caesar instantly replied, “each month, the child who read the most books or the one who made the most significant progress in reading during the previous month.”

Joining in the dedication celebration, Caesar was surrounded by the 2022 Kindergarten classes, their teachers and librarians, Ms. Daliz Vasquez, interim principal, Ty Allan Jackson, author, Dr. Kristy DeLa Cruz, Superintendent, School District 4 and Stephanie Herrera, Bronx Outreach Coordinator from Hon. Diana Ayala’s New York City Council 8th Council District.

Judith’s Reading Room

Judith’s Reading Room was founded in 2010 in the memory of the founders’ first cousin, Judith F. Krug, who served as Director of Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association for 40 years.  The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy.  We have fulfilled that mission by establishing 103 libraries (and counting!) in 22 countries with nearly 132,000 books worth $1,420,000.

The Freedom Through Literacy Award, now in its 8th year, honors individual champions of literacy from all disciplines around the world — teachers, librarians, authors, researchers, nonprofit literacy organizations, educators — anyone who has done exemplary work to instill in others a love of reading.  To date, the organization has disbursed $48,500 in cash awards to 47 champions of literacy.  Winners hail from 14 countries, including nine states in the United States.  Applications for the 2023 Freedom Through Literacy Award will be posted on www.judithsreadingroom.org beginning November 1, 2022.

The Founders’ Award, inaugurated in September 2022, is a cash prize at the discretion of Judith’s Reading Room founders to honor literacy heroes who have had to overcome immense obstacles in order to enrich lives through literacy.  Ms. Basarat Kazim, Alif Laila Book Bus Society, Lehore, Pakistan and Ms. Simon Ke, Anjali House, Siem Reap, Cambodia are the recipients of the 2022 Award, each winning a cash prize of $1,000.

The Literacy Chair Award, inaugurated in October 2022, is in honor of or in memory of a champion of literacy nominated by a Judith’s Reading Room member of the Board of Directors.  The Literacy Chair Award is a beautifully crafted decoupage story-themed chair, from Storytime Crafts, a charitable nonprofit organization in Needham, Massachusetts.  Judith’s Reading Room selected Storytime’s chair for its Literacy Chair Award because it illustrates the power of literacy through art.  Dr. Lisette Caesar is named recipient of the inaugural 2022 Literacy Chair Award.

 

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