James Patterson needs no introduction. He has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. As of January 2016, he has sold over 350 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1New York Times bestsellers. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, he also writes children’s, middle-grade, and young-adult fiction and is also the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children’s bestsellers lists.
In November 2015, Patterson received the Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation, which cited him as a “passionate campaigner to make books and reading a national priority. A generous supporter of universities, teachers colleges, independent bookstores, school libraries, and college students, Patterson has donated millions of dollars in grants and scholarships with the purpose of encouraging Americans of all ages to read more books.”
Now Patterson is ready for the second wave of give-aways that he started last year – Patterson’s School Library Campaign, in partnership with Scholastic Reading Club, gave hundreds of schools grants in 2015. More than 28,000 private and public schools submitted grant applications online. In order to apply, they answered one question: “What would your school library do with $1,000 to $10,000?”
Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Reading Club:
“It is truly inspiring to find a partner as focused and committed to reading and literacy as James Patterson. Scholastic Reading Club is thrilled to support his work to transform school libraries so that all children will have safe spaces surrounded by books.”
Patterson pledged $1.75 million in grants to school libraries. Of the nearly 28,000 entries received, 467 schools were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. School libraries across the country used this funding to purchase new books, add bookshelves, make improvements to their catalog systems, and expand their programming. With this second round of donations, Patterson and Scholastic hope to give even more children in America access to books and a functioning school library.
School librarian and grant recipient Teresa O’Brien-Israel talked about the difficulty her young charges face in getting their hands on books.
“Many of our families do not have the money to purchase books, and our local public library is not in close proximity to our school,” she said in a statement. “Our school library must be our students’ window to the world. Unfortunately, our books have an average copyright date of 2002, and the number of titles in our library is woefully inadequate.”
The 2016 program will launch with $1.75 million in grants that will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year.
Anyone can nominate a school library; donations will range from $1,000 to $10,000 per school. James Patterson and Scholastic Reading Club will accept nominations of all types: for repairs to a computer system, for example, or for a school project focused on books and reading. Patterson hopes that teachers and students will share their experiences in their communities using #pattersonpledge.
All funds are being personally donated by James Patterson, who said:
“Libraries are the heart of the school, and the response from educators and parents alike to the first Great Library Pledge showed that there is much more needed to save them. That’s why I’m back with a new $1.75 million pledge to save school libraries across the country.”
Applications to nominate a school library for a donation must be submitted by May 31, 2016, and can be found here: www.scholastic.com/pattersonpartnership.