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Posted: November 29, 2016

Best-Selling Author James Patterson Awards Library Grant to Truman MS

Scholastic Reading Club also is providing books and other materials to the school.

Truman Middle School received a $6,800 grant from bestselling author James Patterson to support its library. The school plans to use the money to add about 40 audiobooks with corresponding hardcover books to its collection. 

In addition, Scholastic Reading Club will match each dollar of Patterson’s donation with “bonus points” that can be used to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms. Teacher Dana Salvador, who teaches English language learners, plans to use the money to build a classroom library to meet the needs of her students.   

Truman was selected among thousands of applications. Collet Park Elementary and Van Buren Middle School also are listed among recipients of the grant. See the full list of grant recipients.

Truman librarian Angela Burke Kunkel said she originally applied for the grant because Truman students frequently request audiobooks but the cost can be prohibitive.

"The Patterson/Scholastic Read Club grant will allow us to build a collection of digital PlayAway audiobooks that students can check out, along with a traditional print copy of the book," Kunkel said. "It is our hope that audiobooks will help students with a variety of needs and learning styles, including reluctant readers, auditory learners, English language learners, and students with special needs."

"We are very thankful to James Patterson -- whose books so many of us enjoy -- and to Scholastic as well. So many of their books already sit on our library shelves and in our classrooms. We're thrilled to be able to add to the collection," said Truman Principal Michele Torres. 

James Patterson and Scholastic Reading Club announced in March that the author 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 received 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.

“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 programming.