As the result of a partnership with Big Y, a family-owned food retail company with stores across Western Massachusetts, schools in Berkshire County received 1,000 new books for school and classroom libraries. The six elementary schools benefiting from this generous donation included Silvio O. Conte Community School, Morningside Community School and Crosby Elementary in Pittsfield and Brayton Elementary, Greylock Elementary and Colegrove Park Elementary in North Adams.
"Like schools in the Greater Springfield area, Berkshire County faces challenges increasing reading proficiency at the elementary level. That is why it has long been a goal of ours to expand our programming to towns like Pittsfield and North Adams," said Laurie Flynn, president & CEO of Link to Libraries. "Link to Libraries is incredibly fortunate to have a partner like Big Y that recognizes the life-changing impact books can have on the lives of underserved children. We are grateful for this generous donation. We hope that other local businesses and volunteer readers will consider joining our effort to get books into the hands of children who need them in Berkshire County."
Principal Carolyn Wallace from Brayton Elementary School in North Adams said Big Y and Link to Libraries are "important community partners" for the school. "Students get excited about all of the new books in our library, but the personal connections that happen when Big Y employees visit our classrooms as readers, and the books they give to the students to take home for their home libraries, are priceless. Their message to our students is clear, reading matters," she said.
Link to Libraries relies on three signature programs to inspire young readers, increase children's access to books and enhance the language and literacy skills of children of all cultural backgrounds. Link to Libraries is actively seeking out sponsors and volunteers in Berkshire County to participate in each of these efforts.
First, the Business Book Link Program pairs a local business with a school in need, providing 400 new books to their library each year. As a part of this three-year partnership, employees are also offered the opportunity to participate as classroom readers once a month over the course of the school year. Second, the Read Aloud Program connects volunteer readers with third- and fourth-grade classrooms. Readers are given a set of books from which to read, as well as new books for students to keep at the end of each monthly visit. And third, through the Reading Any Place Program, Link to Libraries collaborates with local agencies, schools and other nonprofits to provide new books to homeless children from birth through grade seven. For information on how to join the Link to Libraries team, contact Laurie Flynn by email or by phone at 413-654-7241.