Walnut Springs Middle School has received a grant from bestselling author James Patterson to support its school library. In addition, Scholastic Reading Club will match each dollar of Patterson’s donation with “bonus points” that teachers can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms. Walnut Springs was selected amongst thousands of applications for funding grants.
James Patterson and Scholastic Reading Club announced in March 2016 that Patterson would donate $1.75 million to save school libraries nationwide in the second installment of his School Library Campaign. As part of an ongoing effort to keep books and reading a number one priority in the United States, selected school libraries will be receiving grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Since the grant program’s launch in 2015, Patterson has donated $3.5 million to school libraries nationwide, with all funds are being personally donated by Patterson.
Walnut Springs Librarian Jean Trimble submitted the grant application in the spring. Money received will go towards purchasing four Little Free Libraries for the community: one at Walnut Springs Middle School and one each at or near three elementary schools whose students will attend Walnut Springs. Trimble is extremely grateful for the opportunity to encourage and promote literacy and lifelong learning in the community.
“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,” says 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.”
“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,” said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Reading Club. 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.”
In the first-ever partnership of its kind, Patterson joined forces with Scholastic Reading Club to administer funding applications to their network of 62,000 schools and 800,000 teachers. Schools entering were asked to share the story of their school library, including past efforts to make improvements and “great ideas to help create a brighter future.” Patterson personally read and selected the winning recipients of the grants. Based on past winners, school libraries across the country have been using this funding to purchase new books, add bookshelves, make improvements to their catalog systems, and expand their programing. The full list of grant recipients is available online at http://www.scholastic.com/pattersonpartnership/recipients.