1000 Books Donated to Hispanic Center Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program

Judith’s Reading Room donated 1,000 books to the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley for use in its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.HCLV-WIC-9

Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley serves about 2,500 low income individuals each month whose children are typically not enrolled in daycare or pre-K programs. As a result, these vulnerable children start kindergarten without the reading skills and confidence necessary to succeed in school.

Every child enrolled in the WIC program will receive a new book on their first birthday from Judith’s Reading Room, estimated at 50 a month.

“This beautiful donation couldn’t come at a better time,” says Lorna Velazquez, executive director of HCLV, which is located in Bethlehem. “As funding dwindles for important initiatives such as the SPARK Early Literacy Program, our community looks for ways to incorporate books and reading into our children’s lives.”

The collection of gently used and new books valued at $8,870 was curated by Ana Luhrs, a librarian at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. who grew up in a family that received services from WIC.

“As a young girl, I would often accompany my mother to our local WIC office and I can recall spending many hours sitting in the waiting room with little to keep me occupied,” says Luhrs, a board member of Judith’s Reading Room. “I know that my 11-year-old self would have loved to have access to books during those long afternoons.”


The library, which includes an extensive collection of the popular SkippyJon Jones books, Spanish and bilingual titles, is being donated in honor of Luhrs’ parents, Nydia Theodorakis and Luis Alberto Ramirez and other hardworking families struggling to provide for their children.

Hello everyone:

Today was an amazing day! I remember the first call I received from Cathy Leiber and how passionate she was about helping us. I never imagined that call would result in Judith’s Reading Room donating 1,000 books and a beautiful cart that now lives in our WIC Program reception area. The books are just beautiful and many are bilingual. Our partnership with Judith’s Reading Room will help promote literacy, parental engagement and allow us the opportunity to have volunteers read to our kids while they wait to be served. We have two of our seniors signed up to spend a few hours a week reading to our children.

I have to thank our amazing WIC Program staff and Maternal & Health Family Services for their support. Maternal & Family Health Services funds our WIC Program and we work as partners to provide quality service to our participants.

We are doing great things TOGETHER! Thank you Judith’s Reading Room!!

Check out the cool pictures.

Thank you,

Lorna Velázquez
Executive Director
Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley

Judith’s Reading Room Library Opens in Polenë

On Wednesday, December 19th 2012, Judith’s Reading Room opened its second library in Albania in the historic village of Polenë, outside the city of Korçë. At the primary school there, teachers and students spent the last day of school before the winter break, organizing books and setting-up the English language library. The library will be used to help improve students’ reading skills. The school in Polenë serves about sixty students enrolled in all grade levels from kindergarten to ninth grade, and has a staff of eight teachers. Children have English classes two to three times a week starting in third grade.

In addition to enjoying a visit from Santa Claus, children at the school were able to spend some time looking through the school’s new library which included many interesting titles requested by the teachers. The children made signs expressing their love of reading, and were excited to finally receive the shipment of books. They were happy that Judith’s Reading Room was able to provide them with the books. Dennis Dias, a local Peace Corps Volunteer who coordinated the event, helped teachers distribute books to the children.Judith's Reading Room in Polenë

[note color=”#b5a66b”]Please check out  the Sunday Express-Times site, Sara K. Satulla  wrote an awesome story on Judith’s Reading Room in the VALLEY Section’s back page in regards to the opening of this library …..  Judith’s Reading Room, Bethlehem-based nonprofit, opens its 45th library.[/note]

Zana Begollari, an English teacher in Polenë, gave a short speech commemorating the event, saying “These books are important to helping us communicate freely in English as a foreign language. Step by step, we must practice the English language. In these books are words we must use daily.” Fredi Mançi, another teacher at the school, explained “These books are new and different. We can all make use of them, the teachers as well, and there is a good possibility of improving our English skills as well in order to share the joy of these books with the children.” Ilir Filovani, the director of this school, said the school had a great need for the books and appreciated the gift.

The children remarked on the familiarity of some characters in the books like Sleeping Beauty and SpongeBob, and were motivated to start reading to learn more about them. One student, Christina, read a passage from her favorite book to the rest of the students present. At the end of the event, Ms Begollari led her English students to say “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Judith’s Reading Room had previously opened a library in the neighboring village of Qatrom.

32nd Library donated to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation’s Recreation Therapy Room

Judith’s Reading Room donated its 32nd library today to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital’s Recreation Therapy Room. The Therapy Room aims to return its patients to their highest possible level of function and independence. Today’s donation is comprised of 300 hand chosen books and a mobile cart with a total value of $7,562.

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Recreation Room LibraryThe recreation therapy room is available to more than 200 individuals daily, including patients in the Rehabilitation Hospital, long-term care residents, residents of the supportive independent living apartments on campus and all of their respective families.

“Because of the gift of literature, our patients’ rehabilitation process will be greatly enhanced. Reading has so many benefits that can complement a patient’s journey through rehabilitation,” said Frank Hyland, vice president of Rehabilitation Services. “On behalf of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital, I would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to Judith’s Reading Room for this generous donation.”

The Judith’s Reading Room mobile library cart includes a variety of books that accommodate the diverse patient population, ranging from 18 to 80 years of age. Patients and their families will be able to benefit from a mix of new fiction, nonfiction, and coffee table books that have been obtained through book publishers and from a generous donation by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Gerhard in honor of their daughter, Kristen.

Judith's Reading Room at Good Shepherd

The Morning Call’s video of Erin D’Amelio, Judith’s Reading Room 2012 summer intern on the creation of the library for Good Shepherd.

After establishing its first library at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital’s Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem in February 2010, the founders of Judith’s Reading Room are thrilled to continue their partnership with Good Shepherd. “Giving these special patients the gift of literature, which will help with their therapy, corresponds perfectly with our mission at Judith’s Reading Room,” said Scott Leiber, co-founder, Judith’s Reading Room. “We are grateful to have a wonderful partner in Good Shepherd.”

Please visit Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Services for more information on all they have to offer.

Mobile Library and 450 Books donated to Children’s Home of Easton

Donated 450 books and a mobile library cart valued at $5,926 to Children’s Home of Easton, Easton, PA, a “home away from home” for at-risk youth who cannot live at home through no fault of their own. The donation includes a literacy-rich initiative: the inauguration of a Judith’s Reading Room Book Group. The reading initiative will benefit 150 children and their families each year.

Riz Khan Library at the Kebonagung I School, East Java, Indonesia

A permanent Judith’s Reading Room library, containing 125 children’s books was established inside the Riz Khan Library at the Kebonagung I School, serving 300 students in East Java, Indonesia. The first of two mobile libraries was also dedicated. The mobile library was inaugurated with 230 books and will serve 28 schools reaching nearly 3,500 students. The value of today’s donation is $2,297.

Mobile Library for Harkins House near Portland, Oregon

Dedicated a mobile library to Washington County’s Juvenile Detention Center ‘Harkins House,’ a nationally-recognized model program and short-term temporary residential shelter located near Portland, Oregon. This donation of 219 books, valued at $2,647, is designed to complement their existing curriculum. Literacy is a significant protective factor for at-risk youth and is strongly correlated with reducing recidivism.

LVHN’s Hackerman-Patz House Mobile Library

Donated a mobile library containing 100 coffee table books worth $3,837 to Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Hackerman-Patz House, a “home away from home” that offers loved ones accommodations for a modest charge. The custom collection was designed to help ease the stress and strain by allowing guests to escape the difficulties of the moment with a great book. For three consecutive years, Judith’s Reading Room has donated libraries to LVHN including a total of 1,179 books valued at $12,206.

Libraries dedicated in Yola By Pass, Nigeria

Three (3) Judith’s Reading Room libraries – two mobile and one permanent — were dedicated today in Yola By Pass, Adamawa State, Nigeria serving nine (9) educational institutions and impacting over 10,000 students.   Judith’s Reading Room collaborated with the American University of Nigeria, the Rotary Club of Yola, Remi Foundation, a school serving 400 including 100 special needs children, and the Karatu Foundation, an organization created to sustain libraries in various institutions in the Yola area, with the goal of increasing literacy in this area of northern Nigeria.  The first donation of 120 books valued at $1,038 marked the beginning of a long-term commitment on the part of Judith’s Reading Room to ship two boxes of books per month.  As of December 2012, a total of 599 books worth $3,912 have been shipped to Nigeria.

New Collaborative Partnership with The World is Just a Book Away

Dedicated our first “library-within-a-library” of The World is Just a Book Away in Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia

Judith’s Reading Room and California-based The World is Just a Book Away announces our partnership to bring English and local language books to 27,000 children across Indonesia. We dedicated our first “library-within-a-library” of The World is Just a Book Away in Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia with 125 hand-picked pre-school English-language books.

WIJABAA Judith’s Reading Room Library is a collection of 100+ English books that exists within a WIJABA Library. WIJABA partnered with Judith’s Reading Room to provide English books to all WIJABA’s Libraries and Mobile Libraries, while also fulfilling the children’s great desires to learn and practice their English skills.

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