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Golden Bookshelf
Golden Bookshelf full of books

Diane Kahn

Lisa Rodrigues

Mary F. Foster

Tony Washington

Lynne Nayman

Anthony Henriquez

Bruce Bellom

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All book donations as well as stocking of shelves is on hold until further notice due to recent events.

How Rotary Improves the Lives of Children in our Community Through Literacy

Research and statistics tell the story:

“According to Boston Basics, 80% of Brain Growth happens in the first three years after birth.”

Language Deficiency by Age 5

Language is the foundation of human communication. Infants and children require frequent face-to-face opportunities for language exchange and reading. Low language proficiency before the age of five (5) can mean a lifetime of missed opportunities for children growing up in poverty.

Failure to Read by Age 9

Failure to read by age nine creates permanent life deficits. Slow readers become truants and leave high school before graduation in very high numbers. Failure to read at grade level diminishes career development / earning potential and often leads to the juvenile criminal justice system.

Peekskill Rotary Puts Books into the Hands of Underserved Children—reducing Achievement Gaps

Peekskill Rotary's Reading is Fundamental Committee, co-chaired by Diane Kahn and Lisa Montalto, formed ‘Literacy Lovers’ to encourage children to develop a life-long love of reading by getting books into their homes. Young children need easy access to books to be successful readers but households with limited incomes tend not to be filled with books. 
To address this community need, the Committee crafted “Golden Bookshelves” which are stocked with age appropriate, new and gently used children’s books in both English and Spanish. The “Golden Bookshelves” are strategically placed in three Peekskill community facilities—Hudson River Health Care, Fred’s Pantry and WJCS—and provide free books to families.
Peekskill Rotary’s “Golden Bookshelves” also supports the community initiative, "The Peekskill Basics," modeled after the Boston Basics project.  Peekskill Basics focuses on i) promoting early childhood literacy and ii) enhancing parenting skills that help children achieve their educational potential.
Mary Keenan Foster, Acting Superintendent of Peekskill City School District, spearheaded "The Peekskill Basics" as a way to address the educational achievement gap between the city’s school district and the neighboring suburban school districts.  Mary commented, “It’s so important to just get books into the hands of children” to help improve our school district’s performance on English Language Arts standardized tests. When 83% of our student population is “economically disadvantaged” and more than half are from Spanish-speaking homes, the whole community needs to be involved to help our children succeed. Literacy Lovers “Golden Bookshelves” supports this significant effort of getting free books into the hands of our children.

How many books have we put in the hands of kids?

From December 14, 2017 to March 2, 2020; 30,000 books.

Community partners assisting with book donations!

Our partners are essential for our success. We appreciate everyone who has been involved in our efforts.
Funding - Rotary International: matching grants to get us started and to buy books; gifts from Paul Harris Fellows Designated Funds to buy books; grants from Peekskill Rotary Club, individual community members and business donating funds through our Annual Virtual fundraising Event - Stay at home and Read Gala.
Westchester Library System: numerous libraries in Westchester and Putnam Counties are giving us books they are taking out of circulation.
Penguin/Random House: donated 1,000 books to kick off the project.
Scholastic Books: Donation and discounted books.

Children's Book Author Enrique Feldman: Donated Hundreds of bilingual books.

Barnes & Noble: Holiday Book Drive Recipient  2017 - 2019; Discounts on book purchases; Book Fair March 2, 2019.

School Districts: Peekskill City School’s district-wide book drive; Lakeland School District book drive; Walter Panas book drive.

Businesses: Several local businesses and churches/synagogues conduct periodic book drives for Literacy Lovers including Holy Spirit Church,  First Hebrew Congregation, Bear Mountain CrossFit, Premier Athletic, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, The Peekskill Coffee House.

Peekskill Rotary Club Members: soliciting gently used books from customers, clients, friends, and neighbors.

How can you help?

  • Donate gently used or new children's books age birth-grade 8 - at one of our drop-off locations.
  • Participate in our upcoming events listed on our calendar.

Donate to Literacy Lovers

Donations are appreciated to help fund the Literacy Lovers Golden Bookshelf project!
Donate Using PayPal

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Donate by Check
Please prepare checks to:
Peekskill Rotary Club Foundation Inc.
P.O. Box 344
Peekskill, NY 10566
Please place a notation on the check: Literacy Lovers