The North Central Regional Library (NCRL) received a $35,000.00 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to expand its Columbia River Reads program directed to teens. NCRL will use the funds to bring Newbery Award winning author Avi to 20 additional high schools and middle schools in 2011 and 2012. The award is part of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation’s new “Making Connections” initiative which is intended to help strengthen the relationship between libraries and the communities they serve.
Since 2003, NCRL’s Columbia River Reads program has promoted reading among teens by bringing famous authors to schools. NCRL makes many copies of the featured book available its branch libraries and at schools. For example, over 200 copies of Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” were delivered to Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee in 2008 so that every sophomore could read the book. Over 800 people attended Mr. Alexie’s program in Wenatchee. In 2010, author Gordon Korman visited middle schools in Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Mattawa, Moses Lake, East Wenatchee, Omak, and Okanogan, and Waterville to discuss his book “Schooled.”
NCRL Director of Public Services Dan Howard said, “We are thrilled and humbled by the generosity of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. This program has been very effective in getting teenagers excited about reading books. That’s not something that happens every day. Children in our rural areas don’t often get to see successful local authors like Sherman Alexie in person and when they do, it makes a big impression. This grant will double the impact of this program.”
NCRL has benefitted from other recent gifts as well. Just over $3,500.00 from the Ferne Daniel Designated Fund will be used to purchase books for the Ephrata Library. Memorial funds related to Henry Monroe and John E. Hayes will provide about $2,500.00 each to purchase books for the Moses Lake Library. Memorial funds from Anne L. Simpson provide about $15,000.00 annually for books at the Leavenworth, Cashmere, and Peshastin Libraries. Dr. Lawrence Schrader and Dr. Elfriede Massier of Wenatchee donated $1,000.00 to NCRL’s defense fund to support the library in its ongoing federal lawsuit related to the library’s restricting access to pornography on the internet.