James Patterson has delivered on his pledge earlier this year of $1.75 million to help save school libraries with the second installment of the School Library Campaign. Yesterday, he announced the distribution of funds to 452 schools across the country, in grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
In partnership with Scholastic Reading Club, the Patterson Pledge program is part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a priority for children in the U.S. Since last year's launch, Patterson and Scholastic Reading Club have received more than 32,000 entries to the library grant programs and awarded funds to more than 900 recipients. The most prevalent request on behalf of schools is for general funding, a dire need. Patterson's total contribution to date is $3.5 million.
"We've just come out of the most divisive presidential election in history--and among all the issues that captivated voters, education wasn't one of them. It was hardly discussed," said Patterson. "Nearly half of the American population reads at or below a basic level, and we need to address that problem to foster an informed future electorate. I've made it my mission to underscore the vital role reading plays in children's lives, and the need to sustain school libraries is at the heart of that mission."
Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Reading Club, said last year's Patterson Pledge "showed communities nationwide how important school libraries are but also how gravely desperate they are for books to fill their shelves in the midst of steep budget cuts. The amazing outpouring from schools combined with the continued generosity of James Patterson helped us solidify a second year of grants to help more children have access to high-quality books and, ultimately, revive school libraries. We are proud to announce this year's new grant recipients and thank James Patterson for his continued personal commitment to save school libraries."
Patterson hopes that teachers and students will share experiences in their communities using #pattersonpledge. You can listen to Patterson's exclusive interview about the critical need for school libraries on the "Scholastic Reads" podcast.