Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive display table with books piled high.
The Peekskill Rotary - Literacy Lovers Project was selected as Barnes and Noble’s nonprofit recipient for its 2018 Holiday Book Drive occurring from November 1 through December 31. Books donated to the Literacy Lovers project through the Barnes & Noble book drive is vital to sustaining our goal of providing free children books to families in need.
The Peekskill Rotary Club created the Literacy Lovers project in 2017 to inspire young children, and their parents, to read and be read to. The goal, besides increasing literacy skills, is to encourage children to form a life-long love of reading by providing free books for children to keep. 
“Words cannot express the appreciation of this amazing partnership between Barnes & Noble, Mohegan Lake and our Club’s literacy project. The underlying beauty of this generosity going right back into the local community, serving our local children is what it is all about! ", said Lisa Montalto, Project Co-Chair. 
Five “Golden Bookshelves” were built by the Club and stocked with age appropriate, new and gently used children’s books in both English and Spanish and strategically placed in Peekskill community facilities serving children in need. The Golden bookcases were initially filled with more than a thousand books donated by Penguin/Random House and the Westchester Library System and 2,500 books donated through the 2017 Barnes & Noble’s Holiday Book Drive. In the eleven months since the project began, more than 15,000 books have been distributed to children. 
The Peekskill Rotary Club’s Literacy Lovers project supports the community initiative, Peekskill Basics (modeled after a similar program in Boston) which seeks to foster parenting skills that will help children achieve their educational potential and to promote literacy in our community where access to books in low income areas is limited. 
Diane Newman Kahn, Project Co-Chair, added, "When we heard the statistics from that “80% of brain growth happens in the first three years after birth,” our Club knew that our work needed to begin at the grassroots level-- getting books into the hands of children." The research is clear.  Young children must have access to books to be successful readers and productive members of society.  Books need to be in their homes, not only in the schools.  Children need to have easily accessible libraries for their own use and to enjoy bedtime stories read by others. There truly is nothing like holding a book in hand, enjoying the excitement of each page and the anticipation of much more to come as the next page is turned.