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September 23, 2009

RE: Mayor’s Book Clubs Launched

Dear Mayor:

Yesterday in Trenton, the League and the National League of Cities (NLC) launched a project to work with seven cities across the Garden State to develop Mayor’s Book Clubs – efforts emphasizing home-grown pilot programs to build reading skills among young children.

Commissioner Lucille E. Davy of the State Department of Education joined League President Tim McDonough, Mayor of Hope, Mayor Douglas H. Palmer of Trenton and a Head Start preschool class of readers in announcing the seven pilot cities selected for the new effort: Clifton, Hightstown, Hope, Jersey City, Mount Arlington, Neptune, and Trenton.

With support from The Verizon Foundation and PSE&G, NLC and NJLM will partner with the National Center for Family Literacy to provide the seven selected cities with technical assistance over a period of one year as they develop local early literacy action plans centered on the development of a Mayor’s Book Club.  Beginning with today’s kick-off leadership academy, this assistance will include information about the latest research and best practices, connections to national experts, practical advice on planning and implementation, and cross-city peer learning opportunities.

Mayors in cities such as Charleston, S.C., Jacksonville, Fla., Longmont, Colo., and Lynchburg, Va., have incorporated the Mayor’s Book Club program into their broader early care and education plans.  These cities have partnered with child care centers, libraries, businesses, and community groups to sponsor a range of activities that include:

  • Providing parents with educational supplies and each month’s featured book;
  • Sponsoring book drives and literacy events;
  • Recruiting and training volunteers to read to children and distribute materials
  •  Making games, resources, and classes promoting literacy available to parents;
  • Issuing public service announcements on the importance of early literacy; and
  • Having the mayor read a book to a group of young children each month at a library or on local public access television or radio station.

The New Jersey League of Municipalities’ Educational Foundation is  an independent forum for creative thinking, exploring innovative ideas, providing information and expert analysis to foster good public policy, implementing pilot programs, and encouraging a non-partisan dialogue centered on the issues, goals and priorities of municipal government.

The National League of Cities is the Nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance.  NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.  The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, a special entity within NLC, helps municipal leaders take action on behalf of the children, youth, and families in their communities.

For more information and photos of yesterday’s event, go to, which you can also access from the scroll on the right hand side of the League’s homepage. You can also contact me at or (609) 695-3481, ext. 122.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director


News Stories:

Trenton, Hightstown mayors picked to promote kids' literacy program - Times of Trenton 9/23/09

Mayors bring young readers' program to seven cities and towns - NJ - 9/23/09




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