NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Schools across the City School District of New Rochelle recently welcomed a precious gift – free books, donated by My Brother’s Keeper. The books were part of a collection drive bounty that Volunteer New York! ran for MBKNewRo during its for 9/11 Day of Service back in 2016.
MBKNewRo, a partnership of the City of New Rochelle and the school district collected enough books to spread reading materials throughout the city, helping to ensure that children and young adults have something to read.
“Thanks so much for the books,” Henry Barnard Early Childhood Center Assistant Principal Lori Pisani wrote to the group. “Our library clerk is thrilled and is incorporating them into her practice.”
MBKNewRo Managing Director Colleen Gardephe said 2,500 books — part of an estimated 10,000 in total — were given to 10 schools. Additionally, MBKNewRo gave another 20 boxes to community partners with another 35 boxes awaiting placement.
The books, which were distributed last November and December, were targeted to the appropriate age groups in each school. On the elementary level, that included a selection of picture, chapter and Spanish language books. Middle school students were given chapter books featuring different reading level challenges. The high school’s selections were handpicked and primarily included selections from classic literature.
Books were first delivered to more than 60 barber shops and beauty salons to give children and adults something more than magazines to read while waiting their turn for service. They were also delivered to municipal housing complexes, the YMCA, the Hugh A. Doyle Senior Center, The Guidance Center of Westchester and others.
“One of the most striking things we observed about the books we received was how few of them featured children of color or were in Spanish,” said Gardephe. “We hope to work with the PTA to compile a list of books that feature diversity with the hope that schools and the district can purchase more of these books.”
The group is also working with the New Rochelle Council on the Arts and the New Rochelle Public Library to create 15 pop-up book kiosks to be installed throughout the city.
Community partners interested in obtaining books for adults and students ages 12 and up, can write to MBKNewRo at email@example.com.