James Patterson & Scholastic Reading Club pledge to save classroom libraries

Michael Barrett  //  Apr 20, 2017

James Patterson & Scholastic Reading Club pledge to save classroom libraries

On a recent Scholastic Reads podcast episode, James Patterson addressed that schools are in dire need of books for their school libraries and their classrooms. Today, he continues his ongoing effort to keep books and reading a priority for children in the United States.

In partnership with Scholastic Reading Club, Patterson will personally donate another $1.75 million to school libraries this year, in the third installment of his School Library Campaign. This year’s Patterson Pledge program focuses specifically on teachers: 3,500 individual recipients will receive grants of $500 to enhance and supplement their classroom libraries.

Scholastic Reading Club will administer funding questionnaires to their network of 800,000 teachers and will match each dollar with “Bonus Points,” which can be used to acquire books and other materials. Questionnaires must be submitted by July 31, 2017. To enter a chance to win, go to www.scholastic.com/pattersonpartnership.

Since 2015, Patterson has donated $3.5 million to school libraries. These grants have been used to purchase new books, add bookshelves, make improvements to catalog systems, and expand programing. With this third round of donations, Patterson and Scholastic aim to give even more children in America access to books, whether or not their schools have a functioning central library.

Did you know on average classroom libraries across the country contain only half the recommended amount of books per class size, and are often funded by teachers themselves. Findings from the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report: Equity in Education reveal that regardless of school poverty level, 31% of teachers have fewer than 50 books in their classroom libraries and more than half of teachers (56%) use their own money to purchase books. Moreover, the most-needed types of reading materials for their classroom libraries are culturally relevant titles, books published in the last 3–5 years, multiple copies of popular titles, high-interest, low-reading-level books, and magazines.

James Patterson said, “I’m thrilled that this year’s round of grants recognizes teachers, who play such a vital role in student development. Many kids rely solely on their classroom bookshelves for reading material, particularly in those schools without a library. And while it’s been incredible to see the overwhelming response to my school library grants over the past two years, I’m excited to expand the reach of the program, and make a positive impact on teachers who are working with students all day, every day, in every school in the country.”

“In the past two years, James Patterson’s generosity has helped to support more than 900 school libraries nationwide, and Scholastic is proud to once again be a partner in this important program with a new round of grants to create more robust classroom libraries,” said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Reading Club, a division of Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company. “Teachers know the importance of having rich classroom libraries that encourage more independent reading with the books kids choose for themselves. These grants will make an enormous difference in the reading lives of kids nationwide.”

The 2017 program will launch with $1.75 million in grants that will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year. All teachers in grades pre-K through 12 in U.S. schools can apply for a $500 grant. Patterson hopes that teachers and students will share their experiences in their communities using #pattersonpledge. All funds are being personally donated by James Patterson.

Scholastic Reading Club