Another Gift for Student Literacy: Why James Patterson Intensified Earlier Effort

Last time we wrote about prolific author James Patterson, he had recently given $1.5 million to support school libraries through the Scholastic Reading Club program, where schools are able to obtain grants between $1,000 and $10,000.

At the end of June, Patterson distributed the first round of funds to school libraries with 127 individual schools receiving $500,000 (for a full list of schools receiving grants click here). Scholastic Reading Club will match each dollar with bonus points that allow teachers to buy materials, including books, for their classrooms.

Related: James Patterson Encourages Student Literacy with a $1.5 million Gift

So far, more than 28,000 applications have been received, revealing the deep need for books in school libraries. It's no surprise, then, that Patterson has announced that he's donating another $250,000 toward this effort, bringing his total contributions to $1.75 million. The remaining $1.25 million will be given away in stages through 2015.

This spells good news for libraries in need across the country. As Judy Newman, president of Scholastic Reading Club, puts it: "We've been deluged with an enormous number of requests for support from across the country... more than anything else, school libraries are desperate for books to fill their shelves. James Patterson's generosity underscores a great need, and, thanks to him, many children will be welcomed back to school with the books they need to discover a love of reading."

With budget cuts, school libraries are yet another institution where philanthropy can play a role and step in to fill a need. A librarian at New York City's P.S. 62, one of the 127 schools receiving funds, describes the stakes: "Approximately 86 percent of our students are living in poverty. Many of our families do not have the money to purchase books, and our local public library is not in close proximity to our school. Our school library must be our students' window to the world."

It appears that as of this writing, the Scholastic Reading Club application isn't open (the first deadline was May 31, 2015 or when funds were exhausted), so grantseekers should keep checking the website for the next application window.