Huge Book Donation Launches New Community-wide Student Reading Program

March 9, 2015

Thanks to a generous local educational company, and collaboration with Metro United Way, UPS, Jefferson County Public Schools, YMCA, and Teamsters Local 89, the Louisville Free Public Library received a donation of nearly 149,000 books! The books include 28 popular, nationally-acclaimed titles including: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Winnie-the-Pooh, The Velveteen Rabbit, and Millions of Cats.  While some of these will be added to the Library’s collection, most will be distributed to JCPS and Archdiocese schools, grades K-3, as part of a new Library initiative called Share 100 Stories Before 4th Grade.

Share 100 Stories is a school-partnership program that encourages students, kindergarten through 3rd grade, to read aloud with their families and discuss what they are reading. For young readers, reading aloud helps to strengthen language skills, increases their confidence, builds relationships between child and caregiver, improves the educational attainment, and fosters a love of reading.

“This is an exciting opportunity to improve the reading skills and achievement levels of thousands of our public and Catholic school students,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “This generous donation and creative collaboration shows our community is pulling together to implement our Cradle to Career initiative which recognizes that you must be constantly learning and, in this case reading, if you want to succeed and if we want our community to succeed.”

The donated books, housed in a JCPS warehouse, are currently being prepared for distribution by a team of community volunteers.  Groups from the Friends of the Library, Metro United Way, UPS, and others are hard at work sorting copies of twelve different titles – more than 40,000 books – for delivery to all K-3 classrooms in JCPS and Archdiocese schools before spring break. Each book will contain a bookmark with questions about the book for parents to discuss with their child.  The bookmark also describes the Share 100 Stories program and has a simple registration form. Parents/caregivers that return the registration card to any library location will receive another free book for their child, along with a Share 100 Stories Reading Log to track how many stories they read aloud together.  When they have shared 100 stories, they can return the completed log to the library and receive another free book: The Random House Book of Fairy Tales.

"Some of the key components for a child’s educational success are ownership of books and easy access to reading materials,” said Interim Library Director Lisa Sizemore. "The Library is thrilled to be a part of a project in which so many children in Louisville will receive their own copy of a great book."

"We're proud and excited to help more of our children and their families have access to books to read together and learn to love learning," said Joe Tolan, president and CEO of Metro United Way.  "Our vision is a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives - the building blocks for a good quality of life.  And we encourage everyone in our community to demonstrate your support for our kids by volunteering to read to a child; we know you'll get back more than you give!"

By encouraging children to Share 100 Stories—at home, at school, and in our city—LFPL seeks to foster a love of reading and strengthen relationships in the community. In addition to LFPL’s Share 100 Stories Before 4th Grade, these books will be used to support JCPS's Third Grade Reading Pledge—an initiative to ensure all students are reading on grade level by the end of third grade—as well as YMCA after-school and summer programs, and several “little libraries” throughout the community.

“Share 100 Stories fits with our Third Grade Reading Pledge, which invests in boosting student literacy,” says Dr. Donna Hargens, Superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools.  “We know that students who can’t read on grade level by the end of third grade are more likely to struggle in school and throughout life. Our Third Grade Reading Pledge focuses on great teaching strategies, but at the end of the day, our students need more access to great books.  The gift of access makes Share 100 Stories the perfect partner,” adds Hargens.

To learn more about the program, visit LFPL.org/kids or call (502) 574-1620. And join the conversation on social media by using #Share100Stories on your Instagram and Twitter posts.