My Very Own Library program gifts New Jersey students 240K free books

NEWARK, New Jersey -- Since 2011, UChicago's My Very Own Library program has been transforming the lives of children through reading.

The program, which promotes childhood literacy and provides them with access to books and learning resources, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Newark by gifting 24,000 students with 10 free books each.

"We're excited that the little ones are reading books about authors that look like them. The fact that we're providing opportunities for children, is one of the many rewarding aspects of this entire initiative in the city," said Roger León, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools.

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My Very Own Library, which will distribute books across 35 participating Newark district schools, has provided elementary students with more than 2 million books since its founding.

"Reading can take you places you just never imagined. You can grow up and become a lawyer, a doctor, an astronaut, a CEO, whatever you want, you just have to keep reading," said Catherine Wilson, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Newark.

During the pandemic, the program managed to continue providing free access to an online library of literacy resources and virtual book read-aloud sessions from nationally recognized authors on a wide range of subjects.

The program, which started as a local initiative, can now be found across seven sites throughout the U.S. and in the Dominican Republic.

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