NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Wednesday May 31, the Harvard Library in New York partnered with the Fund for Public Schools to present the first annual Harvard Library in New York’s Young Reader’s Prize. Inspired by Dr. Anna Chapman, Harvard Library Board of Trustees Member, the award recognize students expressly for their love of reading, independent of academic or testing performance. The aim of the prize was to encourage these young students to continue to make reading an important part of their lives.
The Fund for Public Schools worked with the administration at J.H.S. 050 John D. Wells Schools in Brooklyn to solicit teacher nominations for the award. As a part of the application process, each student submitted a short personal essay that addressed why reading has been personally important to them in their lives and how they hope books will play a role in their future. All three award winners, Heaven Nesbitt, Michel Reyes, and Merelin Penalo, are from the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and two are English as a Learned Language (ELL) students. Award recipients received a gift card to the historic Strand bookstore in Manhattan, along with signed copies of Harvard graduate Colson Whitehead’s recent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Underground Railroad.
“There is a difference between reading purely for joy and reading because you ‘have’ to,” student awardee Heaven Nesbitt wrote in her essay. “When you’re forced to read, the words just lay on the page, holding no significance at all…Reading for joy is another story; it’s when the words jump off the page, and for a few brief minutes you forget you’re reading.”
“As book lovers, members of the Harvard Library of New York board believe that reading helps us all become more thoughtful, empathic, and hopefully wiser, human beings,” said Dr. Anna Chapman, Harvard Library of New York Board of Trustees Member. “We hope that this prize, even in a small way, sends a message to young people that these are qualities that are valued and important.”
“We are so pleased to partner with the Harvard Library in New York in recognizing these students for their sincere and contagious love of reading,” said Julianne Rana, managing director at the Fund for Public Schools. “Opportunities like the one developed by Dr. Chapman help to inspire students throughout the NYC public school system and support our collective mission to provide equity and excellence for all.”
The event also honored longtime-serving librarian Adrienne Fischier upon her retirement after 36 years with the Harvard Library in New York. Fischier is a Brooklyn native who began her career at the Harvard Library in 1981 after previously managing the General Society Library, also in New York City. Her successes include many written reviews in the Library Journal over the years.
Supporters who attended the event include Graydon and Anna Carter, Lisa Plepler, Ceci Kurzman, and Dr. Ephraim Isaac.
Photos from the event can be found HERE.
About the Harvard Library of New York
Since its founding in 1887, The Harvard Library in New York has remained true to its mission “to stimulate and maintain interest in good literature by raising, administering and expending funds for the establishment and maintenance of a library in the city of New York to be located at the Harvard Club of New York City.
In addition to preserving and caring for all documents, memorabilia and literature relating to Harvard and Harvard Club members, the Library is home to a significant collection of rare books and artifacts. As a public benefit and a public service, the Library has made these documents available for research and scholarship to members of the Harvard community and to the broader community of scholars and researchers world-wide.
About the Fund for Public Schools
The Fund for Public Schools has consistently and rigorously dedicated itself to supporting New York City’s public schools since 1982. The Fund has secured unprecedented investment from foundations, businesses, and individuals, raising more than $440 million for the city’s 1,800 public schools and 1.1 million students.
As a partner to the NYC DOE, the Fund sits in a unique position. We facilitate partnerships between the philanthropic community and the NYC DOE to pilot innovative projects; accelerate promising, outcome-driven initiatives; and respond quickly and strategically to emerging needs across the NYC public school system.
We support some of the most innovative programs in K-12 education at the largest school district in the country. With our partners, we have the potential to make significant impact in the lives of millions of New Yorkers.
Visit www.fundforpublicschools.org for more information.