January 2015  Volume 2 Issue 1
From the President 

Dear Friends:


Learning to read is one of the most important steps in a child's life, laying the educational foundation for acquiring knowledge. Research has shown that reading to children and access to books in the home during a child's early formative years are the strongest predictors of acquiring literacy skills. At Link to Libraries, this is what we strive to do.


Our organization has created a way to encourage people to get involved, read to children, and recognize that reading proficiency is key to a child's future. We want proficient readers by grade 3 or 4. We want our boys and girls to be the best they can be. We think Link to Libraries is doing that work, but it is never enough.


We hope you will take a look at our website. It offers information, insights and advice on how to be an effective advocate and volunteer. We hope your visit to our website marks just the beginning of your long and rewarding relationship with our organization. 


We look to you, our friends, supporters, neighbors and educators, to help guide us in our work. Let us hear from you. Get involved. We will welcome you and you will be glad you did.


Enjoy the winter and all that New England offers.



Susan Jaye-Kaplan   

Link to Libraries, Inc.

President & Co-founder   

Business Book Link


We Welcome Our Newest Sponsors

A.W. Hasting Company and the Hoyt Family, Prudence Crandall
School, Enfield

Brett and Danielle Lord, Patrick Bowe School, Chicopee

Hampden Bank Foundation, Renaissance School, Springfield

Springfield Falcons Hockey, Bowie School, Chicopee

Excel Dryer Company, Talmadge School, Springfield

Alissa and Steve Korn, Samuel Bowles School, Springfield

Dave's Pet and Soda City, Warner School, Springfield & Chapin
School, Ludlow

Chase, Clarke, Stewart and Fontana Insurance, Square One
Children's Centers, Springfield & Holyoke


Going That Extra Mile for Our Schools

Mike Balise Donated $2,000 to the Homer School to buy new jackets for every child in need of a warm winter jacket. We extend many thanks to Mike for his generosity.  


Chase, Clarke, Stewart and Fontana Insurance at Square One.
LtoR: Bob Stewart, President;
Jim Stewart, Vice President; and
staff members

Mike Balise, Balise Motors, reading at Homer School, Springfield.

Denis Gagnon, Jr., Vice President, Excel Dryer, with students from Talmadge School, Springfield
Celebrity Readers


Welcome to Our Newest Celebrity Readers

Denise Jordan, Chief of Staff, Springfield Schools  

Dora Robinson, President and CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley

Elizabeth Roman, Reporter, Springfield Republican   


Celebrity Reader Dora Robinson, President and CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley

Celebrity Readers at the Kensington School. LtoR: Gail Baquis, Program Director; Mike Balise, Vice President, Balise Motors; Mark Keroac, President and CEO, Baystate Health; and
Doug Bowen, President and CEO, PeoplesBank

Monthly Readers


Welcome to Our Newest Monthly Readers

Rachel Voci, Log Cabin and Delaney House

Martin Baicker, President and CEO, Jewish Geriatric Services

Big Y Foods

Alissa Korn

Amy Cohen

Carol Tivoli  

Mike Hirshberg reading at the
Selsar School, Chicopee

LtoR: Phyllis Walsh and Elizabeth Roman at the Kensington School, Springfield
Link to Libraries Warehouse Visits


Springfield Mayor and School Superintendent Visit Link to Libraries:

Mayor Domenic Sarno and Superintendent of Springfield Schools Daniel Warwick visited the Link to Libraries warehouse in November.



LtoR: Richard Rediker, Andrew Anderlonis, Rediker Software President,
Susan Jaye-Kaplan, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, School Superintendent Daniel Warwick,and Gayle Rediker


Book Donations
Longmeadow Brownie Troop 12808 labeled their donated books

Book donations from the Cheung family in honor of a birthday

Fundraising and Special Events


Festival of Trees

Tammy Trudeau and Theresa Finnegan decorated the beautiful Link to Libraries tree for the annual Boys and Girls Club Festival of Trees which took place at Tower Square, November 29 - December 13, 2014.  

LtoR: Theresa Finnegan and Tammy Trudeau in front of the
Link to Libraries tree

Valley Gives

Link to Libraries raised $5,000 through Valley Gives. Many thanks to all those who generously donated during the December 10 campaign.   

Spotlight on Volunteers
George O'Brien, Editor of BusinessWest magazine, reading to students 


George O'Brien, our newest Executive Board member and the editor of BusinessWest, the business journal of Western Massachusetts, has been involved with Link to Libraries for many years. We asked George what compelled him to get involved with Link to Libraries. He responded, "I got involved because I really believe in the mission. Childhood literacy and getting young people to read at grade level is vitally important to this region and ongoing efforts to create a quality workforce for the employers of today and tomorrow. It's an education issue, but it's also an economic development issue as well. So as editor of a business publication, this organization and its mission resonated with me.


It also resonated with me on a personal level. Books have always been a big deal in my family. My parents were voracious readers, and my siblings and I are the same way. At Christmas, there might be twenty or more books changing hands among all of us. We've never been in a house without tons of books, and I can't imagine a home without them. Helping Sue and LTL puts book in the hands of young people is, personally, very rewarding."


When asked what volunteer activities he has been involved in for Link to Libraries, George answered, "I try to do whatever Sue asks me to -- everything from filling book bags to doing public service announcements. But what I truly love to do is participate in the LTL Read Aloud program, although I usually don't do much reading. I'll pull a chair up next to mine and ask the kids to read to me. It's fun to watch all the hands go up and the kids almost beg to be called on. I'll ask them about new vocabulary words and encourage them to stretch their own vocabularies, and sometimes I'll try to mix in some lessons in history and geography, which I studied extensively.


I don't have children, and, quite honestly, I long ago lost track of what a 10-year-old knows - or should know," he went on. "So I guess I treat them more like adults than 10-year-olds. Usually it works. Sometimes I'll try to be funny and no one laughs because it's a little beyond their comprehension. But overall, it is a lot of fun, and very rewarding."


When asked why he agreed to join the Executive Board, George answered, "I joined because Sue asked me to, and, like most people, I find it difficult, if not impossible top say 'no' to her! More to the point, and as I said earlier, this is incredibly important work, and I'm just honored that someone would ask me to be a part of it on this level. I'm flattered, and I hope I can help LTL achieve all of its lofty goals."  

Youth Advisory Volunteers Welcome New Members


Elena Chechile, Monson; Taylor DiGeordgio, Monson; Zack and Jake Roulier, Belchertown  

Kudos to ... 


Roberta Hillenberg-Gang for the publication of the photography book she designed, To the Village Square: From Montague to Fukushima.


Gail Baquis being chosen as one of the American Heart Association's Women in Red for 2015. See Gail on posters and billboard around western MA.


Margot Woodworth who will be the new project director for a new Link to Libraries project at Franklin Medical Center: "Books for Babies - Franklin County"


Special Thanks

Dave Madsen and TV/40 for producing great public service announcements for Link to Libraries


Chad Fidalgo of Rediker Software for all his assistance at our warehouse at Rediker Software.


Amanda Biron of Rediker Software, our web genius.


Theresa Finnegan, Molly Finnegan, Tammy Trudeau, Ellie Trudeau and Grace Trudeau for participating in and managing the Barnes and Noble Gift Wrap Table on behalf of Link to Libraries in Enfield, CT in December. Raising money for a good cause.


Volunteers on Valley Gives Day: Carol Fox, Mary Daboul, Christine Burns (Clowntique), John McAndrew, Kathy Kessler, Elena Chechile, Taylor DiGiorgio, Janet Crimmins, Steve Freed, Steve Kaplan, Colleen Marcus (Coburn School) and Mari Tarpinian (Rick's Auto Body) and our friends at Rediker Software.


Youth Mentors on LTL Little Kids Volunteer Day on January 19, 2015: Abby Simons-Plumb, Katharine Bradford, and Molly Finnegan.  




Many thanks to Rediker Software, Inc.  

of Hampden, MA for graciously providing us with warehouse space and for the many hours of volunteer service their employees provide to us.  



In This Issue
Business Book Link
Celebrity Readers
Monthly Readers
Link to Libraries Warehouse Visits
Fundraising and Special Events
Spotlight on Volunteers
Youth Advisory Volunteers Welcome New Members
Kudos to ...
Mission Statement

Link To Libraries is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in May 2008, whose mission is to collect and distribute new and gently used books to elementary school libraries and non-profit organizations and to enhance the language and literacy skills of children of all cultural backgrounds.

Quick Links

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter

Join Our Mailing List
2015 Calendar
of Events

January 19: Little Kids Volunteer Day

May: Paint Night at Elmcrest Country Club

June: Volunteer Appreciation and Ice Cream Social
Fast Facts

Link To Libraries has donated books to over 400 sites in Western Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and New York.

Since its inception in May 2008, Link To Libraries has donated over 228,000 new books to area non-profits and public elementary schools.

Link To Libraries has 37 teen and adult volunteers

Link to Libraries serves children from birth through grade seven

Link to Libraries has four major initiatives:


Reading Any Place for Homeless Youth - serving six cities and 1,800 children


Welcome to Kindergarten:

Literacy book bags for over 5,000 children annually


Read Aloud Programs:

Over sixty-seven for 2013-2014


Business Book Links:

Offering an opportunity for local businesses, individuals, families, and clubs to positively impact childhood literacy by providing books for children to own and donating books to school libraries in under-served communities. The Program creates business/school collaborations to ensure local public elementary schools in under-served Western Massachusetts communities, pre K - grade five, have new books in their libraries and students are able to create at-home libraries.

We Select Language-rich Books that:

Appeal to and cross all cultures


Encourage literacy-based family interaction


Address contemporary issues facing young readers


Engage reluctant readers


Build literacy-rich home environments


Introduce and reinforce new vocabulary


Encourage classroom discussion


Are aligned with classroom curriculum


Stimulate higher-level thinking


Allow children to make text-to-life connections


Genres include:


Board Books

Pre-Kindergarten Early Literacy





Health and Fitness


Earth, Life and Space Science

Award Winners and Favorites

Folktales and Fables



Favorite Character and Popular Series Chapter Books
Book Wish List

Liberty's Journey by Kelly DiPucchio

Penguin by Polly Dunbar

Little Tad Grows Up by Giuiano Ferri

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

In My Family/En Mi Familia by Carmen Lomas Garza

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni

The Day It Snowed Tortillas by Joe Hayes

On Top of Spaghetti by Paul Brett Johnson

Roberto Walks Home (or any other Keats book) by Ezra Jack Keats

Onion John by Joseph Krumgold

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Beautiful Warrior by Emily Arnold McCully

Precious and the Boo Hag by Patricia McKissack

Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora

Henry's Freedom Box by Kadir Nelson

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell




Help Wanted


Are you creative? We are looking for a volunteer to help with posters, signs, badges, etc.


Can you offer Link to Libraries copying services? We would love to be able to have copies made from time to time for our various projects and mailings.


Please contact us at 413-224-1031.


Wish List


Staples gift cards

WB Mason boxes

Copier paper carton boxes with tops