For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


PHILADELPHIA, April 13, 2009—Marking the start of National Library Week, the Free Library of Philadelphia kicked off the 10,000 Books for Children drive at the Parkway Central Library on Monday, April 13 with Mayor Michael Nutter, Library President and Director Siobhan Reardon, Executive Director of Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia Amy Dougherty, Philadelphia 76er Andre Iguodala, and Target Representative Jules Ginaldi, along with a special guest, the Phillie Phanatic!

Due to the economic downturn, the Free Library had to cut its book budget by 25 percent and stopped ordering new books for all Library locations until early July, leaving the Library with a lack of funds to purchase books for more than 60,000 Philadelphia school children who participate in the Library’s Summer Reading program. With 10,000 Books for Children, the Free Library asks the community to contribute funds or books for the Summer Reading program, which encourages Philadelphia’s children and teens to read throughout the summer and maintain their literacy levels while not in school.

10,000 Books for Children runs from April 13 through June 15, the start of the Summer Reading program. During these two months, the Library calls on the Greater Philadelphia community to help out in whatever way they can—from contributing funds, to purchasing and dropping off books, to using their businesses as a means to acquire materials. The Free Library was pleased to begin the book drive with a generous $25,000 donation from Friends of the Free Library and a $20,000 gift from Target.

“Everyone needs friends, especially in times of financial duress, which is why Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia is so pleased to be able to donate $25,000 for teen books so that our public library system can continue to enrich the minds and lives of Philadelphia’s future generations,” said Amy Dougherty, Executive Director of Friends of the Free Library.

In addition, a group of concerned citizens led by Francine Boone, a Philadelphia lawyer, and Susan Smith, a member of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation Board of Directors, stepped forward to help launch the 10,000 Books for Children drive by reaching out to other citizens, community organizations, and businesses and encouraging their involvement. One member of the book drive committee, John Calhoun, manages the Bob Evans restaurant in Bensalem, and he has generously offered to donate 15 percent of proceeds of Friday night sales in his establishment—as well as in the Mt. Laurel and Turnersville locations—when customers mention 10,000 Books for Children during the two months of the book drive.

The World Champion Philadelphia Phillies will also lend a hand to the Library, and will collect books for 10,000 Books for Children prior to the game against the Washington Nationals on May 29 as part of Be A Phanatic About Reading Literacy Night.

“The Free Library is so grateful to the individuals, organizations, and businesses which have already stepped forward to help us in this tremendous effort,” said Free Library President and Director Siobhan Reardon. “Library Summer Reading programs have a major impact on student reading levels, ability, and enjoyment. We appreciate everyone’s efforts to get books onto our Library shelves and into the hands of these 60,000 Philadelphia school children.”

The list of books needed for Summer Reading, as compiled by the Philadelphia School District, the Archdiocese, and the Charter Schools, can be found on the Free Library’s website at Read aloud lists for pre-k through kindergarten can also be found online.

The Library strongly encourages citizens to consider donating directly to the Library, as monetary donations will allow the Library to purchase dramatically discounted books through its wholesaler, making more books available to children. Online donations will be accepted at

For individuals wishing to purchase books, the Library’s website features a link to a 10,000 Books for Children wish list. Much like an online gift registry, shoppers will be able to view needed items and purchase based on the quantity needed. Books purchased through this list will be sent directly to the Library.

Supporters can also buy designated books at bookstores throughout the city, including Children’s Book World and Joseph Fox Bookshop. For a full list of participating retailers, please visit Designated drop-off library locations include Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional, Lillian Marrero Branch, Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional, Northeast Regional, the Parkway Central Library, and South Philadelphia Branch.

Additionally, individuals may purchase select titles during the Free Library Festival, on Saturday and Sunday, April 18th and 19th, from vendors Children’s Book World and Joseph A. Fox Bookshop.

For information on local businesses that are participating in the 10,000 Books for Children drive, please check

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850