October 2014  Volume 1 Issue 4
From the President 

Dear Friends:


It is hard to believe the cool days of fall will be coming and the start of another season of giving and events will begin for Link to Libraries. I hope you had a peaceful and relaxing summer.


It seems that people delay projects until the fall and then get into a rush to get them done before the freezing winter days come. This fall seems to be no different than the others, with an increase in requests for new books, read aloud programs, and holiday giving which is around the corner and more.


I am so proud of the work LTL has done and the numerous events and accomplishments throughout the year. I am honored to serve with an outstanding group of dedicated, responsible, and intelligent volunteers who have put relentless hours and efforts into our programs and events. While many of us set "NewYear's Resolutions" in January, September offers a similar opportunity for people to engage in thoughtful activities, gain inspiration and set  off on the new leg of their journey with hopes of accomplishing great things. We have great things planned for the year ahead at Link to Libraries and I offer you the opportunity to jump in and join us. There is always a place for new people and new ideas in our organization. We welcome your input and hope to hear from you.



Susan Jaye-Kaplan  

Link to Libraries, Inc.

President & Co-founder   


"The Power of Reading Aloud"
Workshop for Volunteers
On June 10, Dr. Jennifer Stratton, Assistant Professor of Education at Springfield College, conducted an in-depth training workshop for Link to Libraries readers entitled, "The Power of Reading Aloud."
Dr. Jennifer Stratton conducts &
workshop attendees
Dr. Stratton reviewed the building blocks for developing reading fluency and comprehension.
She outlined for us the key components of literacy development, explaining how volunteer readers can support these key components as they read to their students.Dr. Stratton modeled good read aloud techniques for attendees, readingIt's a Home Run for Bunnyby Richard Anderson, the true story of an all-star baseball team from Springfield, Massachusetts..

For those unable to attend, here is a list of references and resources: 

Armbruster, B.B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2002). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read. 

Washington, DC: The Partnership for Reading.


Reading Rockets Website: Tips for Reading Aloud

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Website: Book Guides


Dr. Stratton and her husband, Attorney Seth Stratton, are also LTL Business Book Link sponsors for Kensington International School in Springfield. Many thanks are in order.  

Business Book Link


We have new sponsors to thank! New England Dermatology has sponsored Mary Walsh Elementary School in Springfield. The Springfield Falcons have sponsored a second school-Bowie Memorial School in Chicopee. David Ratner of Dave's Pet & Soda City has generously sponsored both Warner School in Springfield and Chapin Elementary School in Ludlow. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful local business owners who value the importance of education and who recognize the urgent need to help our underserved students.


However, we still have many more schools that need our help. To address this need, we recently held a "Breakfast for Champions," an event sponsored by two of our first Business Book Link sponsors, Christopher Borowiec, U.S. Trust, Bank of America and Dana Barrows, Northwestern Mutual. The breakfast was held on Tuesday, September 30, from 7:30 - 9:00 AM, at One Monarch Place. This event brought current sponsors and potential new sponsors together to discuss the benefits of becoming a Business Book Link sponsor.


At the breakfast, Erica Broman, Executive Director of the Holyoke Community College Foundation, gave a presentation of the creative ways the College has engaged with the Morgan School in Holyoke. Here is her summary of what they have done:


"The Holyoke Community College Foundation has funded a partnership with the Morgan School in Holyoke through Link to Libraries for two years with tremendous results for both the college and the school. Working closely with staff and teachers at the school, HCC employees have read aloud in classes and worked individually with students to help improve reading. College faculty and staff are paired with individual students in kindergarten through third grade and act as a reading mentor. They met twice a month and worked with the students throughout the entire academic year.


Reading gains among the youngsters were substantial with many increasing between four and eleven reading levels. As an incentive, the college offered the students an ice cream social at the conclusion of the school year at the college's Bartley Center. Sixteen students participated with free ice cream, balloons and another opportunity to meet with their mentors. "We were particularly interested in having the youth come to the college. Many have never been on a college campus and don't see that as a possibility for their future. We wanted them to know that it is possible and gave them a tour of the campus and even admissions packets along with a book for summer reading purchased by the HCC library. Our relationship with the Morgan School is one of the best partnerships we have, allowing our faculty and staff to give back to the community in a meaningful way."


Our event sponsors have both added their own personal touch to their schools. Dana Barrows of Northwestern Mutual bakes delicious chocolate chip cookies for his grade 3 students at the Coburn school in West Springfield and Christopher Boroweic at U.S. Trust, Bank of America, donated new books for graduating grade 5 students at the Homer School, Springfield.


Thank you to Dana Barrows and Christopher Boroweic for sponsoring this event. We hope all who attended enjoyed sharing ideas for creative and meaningful engagement with their schools and that the event encouraged new potential sponsors to join this important program connecting local businesses to our neediest schools. 


Ice cream social sponsored by Holyoke Community College
Morgan School thanks Holyoke Community College readers
L to R: Executive Bord Advisor, Tim Crimmins, Business Book Links Project Director, Dr. Susan Landry, and sponsors, Pride, Karen Nystrom, Hampden Bank, Sheryl Shinn and Monson Savings Bank, Lena Buteau
What Our Readers Are Doing

Mary Daboul, Link to Libraries monthly reader at the Bowie School in Chicopee is pleased to be a LTL volunteer because she is able to share her love of literature with children. Mary explains, "The children are so excited and grateful to receive a new book to take home at the end of each read aloud and the opportunity to build their own home library of books. Literacy is life changing; I'm thrilled to play a small part in helping so many children develop as readers and connoisseurs of good literature."


Joyce Hogan, the school librarian, commented, "The third grade students love to have Mrs. Daboul in the classroom and they look forward to hearing the stories that she shares. The students and staff look forward to the read aloud dates and appreciate this opportunity very much. Receiving a new book from LTL at the end of each visit encourages the students to go home and READ their brand new book!"


Kelly Beaulieu, Link to Libraries monthly reader, participates in the read aloud program at the Coburn School in West Springfield for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, she enjoys giving back to the community and believes strongly in the power of volunteering. Kelly explains, "The group of third graders that I read to get very excited when I visit their class. They love the fact that someone is reading to them and giving them a book to keep and take home." She enjoys interacting with the staff at Coburn School, especially the principal, Mrs. Marcus.


Colleen Marcus, Coburn School Principal had this to say about Kelly, "Her passion for children has been apparent since her first visit to Coburn School. She loves children and it shows. We are a needy school, with close to 90% of our students qualifying for free or reduced lunch, and having a caring adult from the community volunteer to read to our students on a regular basis, shows not only that the community cares, but also gives the children an opportunity to learn about the community and community members. In addition, the books she gives to the students are sometimes the only books that these children have. They truly treasure them."


Carol Fox, who recently retired as the Director of Special Education for the East Windsor, CT school system, is a reader at the Metcalf School in Holyoke. Carol tells us, "Reading to the preschoolers at the Metcalf School in Holyoke is a privilege. To watch their faces as they listen to the printed words come alive is magical. To see their joy as they each select a new book to take home is so rewarding."


Amy Burke, Metcalf School Principal, comments, "This has been an amazing experience for our students. The read alouds elicit such rich conversation and language development. The students love being able to bring home a new book." 


Technology Grants

Link to Libraries awarded seven technology grants this year. Three grants were given to Holyoke schools, three to Springfield schools and one was given to Square One, Springfield. The grants were for literacy/technology based programs or equipment to be used at the seven designated schools. This is the second year LTL has awarded technology grants. In total, $8,000 has been awarded in this fiscal year.


Thanks to all of you for helping us achieve this goal. Here are comments from two of our recipients:


"Thank you for your grant for literacy supplies and resources. The staff here at Washington School is overwhelmed by your generosity and continuous support. The LTL program is fantastic because it promotes literacy and student achievement. We plan on using this funding to support our literacy block and to provide students with the needed supports to reach proficiency. AA Milne said, 'Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.' We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your partnership." - Deanna Suomala, Principal, Washington Elementary School, Springfield.


Susan Jaye-Kaplan presents a technology grant to Kimberly Lee, Vice President,
Square One

"The Link to Library donation to support childhood literacy will be used to purchase a variety of books for infants to preschooler classrooms in our center-based programs. In Square One's effort to ensure quality and a literacy rich program for our children, we participate both in the Dept. of Early Education and Care's Quality Rating and Improvement System and the accreditation program through NAEYC-the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Both require a rich literacy practice component to early childhood programs as well as a rich and diverse variety of books available to children each day. This donation will enable Square One to provide those rich literacy experiences and ensure that children are exposed to a wide variety of a genre of books and computer-aided activities that are age appropriate, rich in literacy and fun to read!" - Cindy Recoulle, Assistant Vice President of Programs for Quality Assurance, Square One.


LTL Goes to the Ball Game

Link to Library volunteer, Sue Bennett, gave out 300 books at the New England Collegiate Baseball League's Valley Blue Sox baseball game Saturday night, July 19 at Mackenzie Stadium in Holyoke. 


The family-friendly stadium drew over 2,000 fans, many of the children who ranged from elementary to middle school students, were surprised and glad to receive a free book. The stacks of books covered many topics: from board books for babies to sports and animal themes. Judging from the smiles on their faces the kids loved the experience. Some even started reading them on the spot. And Blue Sox Mascot, Big Red, stopped by the Link to Libraries table to thank the organization for caring. 


Fundraising and Special Events

Tammy Trudeau and Michelle Tremblay are planning a fun night of shopping on October 16 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Rediker Software in Hampden, MA. 31 bags, Silpada Jewelry, and Tastefully Simple will offer many items for sale with a portion of their sales donated to Link to Libraries.  


Tammy and Michelle are also busy designing the Link to Libraries Holiday tree for the Springfield Boys and Girls Club Festival of Trees, which runs from November 28 - December 14.


Kudos to ... 


Casey Simon-Plumb for receiving a Dunkin Donuts Hampden County Scholarship.


Ellie Trudeau for being the 2014 Association of Fundraising Professionals Western MA Chapter's Youth Volunteer recipient. Ellie is a senior at Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham and a four-year LTL youth advisory member.


Wishing our students a great year back in school. Congratulations to our seniors as they tackle the last year of their high school education:


Bob Tremblay at Minnechaug Regional High School

Ellie Trudeau at Minnechaug Regional High School 


Welcome to Our Newest Executive Board Member


George O'Brien, Editor of BusinessWest Magazine, has joined the Link to Libraries Executive Board. George brings years of community involvement to our Board. He has been a devoted reader in the Link to Libraries Read Aloud program since its inception in 2008. George is currently reading to and sponsoring the Rebecca Johnson School and the DeBerry Elementary School in Springfield. Welcome!


Other members of the Executive Board are Susan Jaye-Kaplan, Janet Crimmins, and Roberta Hillenberg-Gang. Stephen Kaplan and Tim Crimmins serve on the Board as advisers.  


Thank You to All Our Read Aloud Volunteers

Dana Barrows - Mittineague School, West Springfield

Kelly Beaulieu - Coburn School, West Springfield

Erica Broman and Holyoke Community College - Morgan School, Holyoke

George Burtch - McMahon School, Holyoke

Mary Daboul - Bowie School, Chicopee

Roberta Hillenberg-Gang - Warner School and Square One, Springfield

Michael Hirshberg - Selsar School, Chicopee

Kathy Kessler - Square One, Springfield

Susan Landry - Kelly School, Holyoke

Meyers Bros. Kalicka - Sullivan School, Holyoke

George O'Brien and BusinessWest Magazine - Rebecca Johnson School and DeBerry School, Springfield

Malcolm Schneider - Dorman School, Springfield

Bill Trudeau and Insurance Center of New England - Martin Luther King Charter School of Excellence, Springfield

Sam Goldberg - Boland School, Springfield

Phyllis Dindas - Sumner Avenue School, Springfield

Brenda Garton - Homer Street School, Springfield

Mal Schneider - Dorman School, Springfield

Carolyn MacDaniels - Discovery School, Greenfield

Big Y - Pottenger School, Springfield

Roberta Bolduc - Lincoln School, Springfield

Martin Baicker - Glenwood School, Springfield

Excel Dryer - Stefanik School, Chicopee

Sally Fuller - Bowles School, Springfield

Steve and Paulette Freed - Global Communications Academy,
Hartford, CT

Fitzgerald Attorneys at Law - Washington School, Springfield

Pride/Karen Nystrom - Lincoln School, Springfield

Rachel Voci - Brunton School, Springfield

Margo Woodworth & Francie Cornwell - Springfield Head Start

Carol Fox & Tammy Trudeau - The Metcalf School, Holyoke

Sue Bennett - Bowe Elementary School, Chicopee

Steven Bradley - Discovery School, Greenfield

Annamarie Golden-Hunter - Homer School, Springfield

Amy Cohen - Talmadge School, Springfield

Karen Fortin-Woods - Lawrence School, Holyoke


Thank you to All Our Volunteers &
Advisory Board Members

Susan Landry, Casey and Abby Simon-Plumb, Susanne Simon, The Robitaille Family, The Trudeau Family, The Tremblay Family, Roberta Hillenberg-Gang, Sally Schneider, Gail Baquis, Kathleen Plante, Kieran Summers, The Grodsky Family, The Perry Family, Jack Nystrom, Alec Robinson, The Kessler Family, Kathy Kessler, The Fitzgerald Family, The Finnegan Family, The D'Amour Daley Family, The Crimmins Family, The Cornwell Family, The Weiner Family, The Rediker and Anderlonis Families, Amanda Biron, Phyliss Walsh, Carol Fox and Margot Woodworth, The Alexander Family, Lucy Metz, Katherine Bradford, Zach and Jacob Roulier, Abbie and Annemarie Golden-Hunter, Nolan Stratton, Tyler Grodsky, Elena Chechile, Taylor DiGiorgio, Luke Butler, Emily Butler  

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
"The Power of Reading Aloud"...
Business Book Link
What Our Readers Are Doing...
Technology Grants
LTL Goes to the Ball Game
Fundraising and Special Events
Kudos to ...
Special Thanks to ...
Thank You to All Our Read Aloud Volunteers
Thank You to All our Volunteers & Advisory Board Members
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

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Join Our Mailing List
2014 Calendar
of Events

October 16
 Shopping Night at Rediker Software

December 3
Holiday Gathering
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 32 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 underserved communities. The Program creates business/school collaborations to ensure local public elementary schools in underserved 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

Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi

Anno's Spain by Mitsumasa Annon

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

Franklin (any of the series) by Paulette Bourgeois

Clifford by Norman Bridwell

Dex: The Heart of A Hero by Caralyn Buehner

Hairs/Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros

Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy



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