New Brunswick Free Public Library awarded 2021 ALSC/Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant

For Immediate Release
Mon, 02/08/2021


Jordan Dubin

Awards Coordinator



The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has awarded the 2021 ALSC/Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Program Grant to New Brunswick Free Public Library in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

This grant is designed to encourage outstanding summer reading programs by providing financial assistance, while recognizing ALSC members for outstanding program development. The program must be open to all children from birth to age 14. The grant encourages summer programming that provides for inclusion of children with physical and mental disabilities. This $3,000 grant is made possible by Baker & Taylor, a leading distributor of books, videos, and music products to libraries, institutions and retailers.

The New Brunswick Free Public Library serves a population of more than 56,000, the majority of whom are of Latinx background. About 77% of students speak Spanish at home, and 38% of children under age 18 live below the poverty level. The library has worked with Special Olympics NJ to get equipment for their Young Athletes program, which is targeted to children ages 2-7 with special needs, although it is open to all children. In the past, this program has been held indoors in the fall and winter.  

Funding from the Baker & Taylor Summer Reading Grant will give the library the ability to offer the Young Athletes program outdoors during the summer months, as well as purchase additional equipment to expand the program to children ages 8-14. The grant will also pay for supplies so the library can provide other programs outside to allow for social distancing. This summer New Brunswick will be able to offer outdoor storytime, a garden club, and a family outdoor movie night, as well as provide some virtual programming for those who are not able to visit the library.  

“The committee was impressed by New Brunswick’s detailed descriptions of their summer reading program plans,” said Jackie Partch, 2020-21 Programs and Services Recognition committee co-chair. “They found ways to be innovative in uncertain times, expanding and adapting programs that had previously been popular at the library while making sure patrons stay healthy. Funding from this grant will allow the library to have more programming for children with special needs this summer and equipment that can be used in the future as well.”

“It is refreshing that so many outdoor and virtual opportunities will be available to the community and children of New Brunswick through their Summer Reading Program.  From gardening to Olympics to storytime to movies, incorporating the outdoors with these activities offers a safe, healthy setting during the pandemic.  Integrating STEM and offering virtual access to programs, while promoting daily reading, will also keep children engaged and will help prevent the summer slide. I’m thrilled that Baker & Taylor will be supporting New Brunswick Free Public Library’s summer reading program through this ALSC Grant,” said Jill Faherty, Baker & Taylor VP, Library Programs.

ALSC, a division of the ALA, is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit ALSC’s website at