BookFest! 2019

BookFest! 2019 was a blast! A steady stream of children and parents selected from about 1,500 books.  Young ladies from Faith Chapel Reformed Church and their advisors joined with Read to Know volunteers in helping children make their selections.

In addition, the children participated in craft activities.  Frances Harrison conducted a story hour, and Frahanna Sayegh, wife of Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, drew the winning numbers for the prize books.

Once again, Read to Know had help and support from several partners.  St  Paul’s CDC food pantry lent us their truck, driven by RTK’s Randy Jackson to transport the books.  Mary Lee Ciminiello, her sons Frank and Dominic, and students from Great Falls YouthBuild set up the room on Friday.  RTK volunteers plus Faith Chapel Reformed Church youth and adults ran the programs on Saturday.

Our thanks and appreciation to:

RTK volunteers Sandra Gianelli, Virginia Bryan, John Surak, Phyllis Schneiderman, Frances Harrison, Yvette Smallwood, and Deidre Pauldo;

Faith Chapel Reformed Church youth volunteers Mikayla Powell, Azhane Brown, Zemirah Redmond, Lasyah Turner, Ajanae McCoy, Jaylenn Fleming, Talisa Shive, and Rhianna Hinesand;

Adult leaders Shayla McClary, Geraldine Redmond, Kimberly Orr, Yvette Smallwood and Deidre Pauldo.

Last, but far from least, the staff of the Paterson Library lent a hand and helped make sure that everything ran smoothly.

Looking forward to next year!

Lolly Burgin, Director


Summer Mini-BookFests! 2018

This summer, Read to Know participated in two highly successful outdoor events.

On Friday, August 3rd, Read to Know distributed books at the Hackensack Recreation Department summer day camp gala at Foschini Park. Our volunteers gave away 300 books to about 120 children. Our thanks to Fran Lipton, who sorted and packed the books, Randy Jackson who transported them, Susan Mengers who set up our display, and Sue Kaufman, Pam Zelden and Lolly Burgin who helped the children find books. The weather was threatening and it poured just after Randy loaded up our banner and supplies!

On Thursday, August 16th, Read to Know was back in Eastside Park in Paterson to participate in the Recreation Department’s Day in the Sun. On a very hot day, we distributed 510 books to about 250 children. Books for this event were donated by Bridge of Books, a statewide non-profit that gives free books to organizations working with children from underserved areas.

Our thanks to the following volunteers: Sandy Gianelli, Mary Ellen Cairns, Yvette Smallwood, Sean Hickey, his wife Christine and their baby Penelope, Ginny Bryan and John Surak. Frances Harrison did her usual public relations job, distributing flyers to other booths, and Randy Jackson was on hand to transport the books.

BookFest! 2018

Over 250 children and their parents went home with new books selected at Read to Know’s spring BookFest! on Saturday, April 28, at the Paterson Library.   In addition, four lucky children won the drawings for prize books.

BookFest! has become a cooperative effort.  First we have the hospitality and support of the Paterson library.  St Paul’s Community Development Corporation Food Pantry lends its van to transport the books.  Participants in Great Falls YouthBuild under the direction of Marc Damon Smith unloaded the van, and set up the room under the supervision of Read to Know’s Lolly Burgin and Jennifer Tsonas.  On Saturday, Read to Know volunteers were joined by a number of young girls from the Pioneers in Faith group from Faith Chapel Reformed Church. Along with their leaders, they helped the children select books and do simple art projects. Members of Kappa Kappa Gamma fraternity lent a hand helping the children select books.

 Our thanks to:

Our volunteers Raquel Acefedo, Ginny Bryan, John Surak, Jennifer Tsonas, Cindy Mierop, Frances Harrison, Yvette Smallwood, Dierdre Pauldo and Lolly Burgin, plus staff member Randy Jackson who drove the van and came back Saturday to help with both setup and cleanup

Pioneers in Faith – Girls: Mya Floyd, Lasyah Turner, Ajanne McCoy, Tavay Timmons, Hayley Jackson and Jylenn; Adults: Yvette Smallwood, Deidre Pauldo, Terry Reid, Linda Gaskin and Shayla McClary

Great Falls YouthBuild participants and their leader, Marc-Damon Smith

Kappa Kappa Gamma members Anne Oros, Fletcher and Grace Preuninger

Barnes and Noble for donating books from their Holiday Book Drive

Other book donors, large and small!

Summer Mini-BookFests! 2017

Read to Know held two mini-BookFests! this summer.  The first was August 4 at Foschini Park in Hackensack when we took part in the end-of-camp-season festivities sponsored by the Hackensack Recreation Department.  About 250 children selected books with the help of Read to Know volunteers.  On August 10, we participated in the Paterson Recreation Department’s Day in the Sun and distributed books to about 250 children.  Our thanks to the staffs in both Hackensack and Paterson for their welcome and support.

Randy Jackson transported the books and helped Lolly Burgin set up at both events.  Read to Know volunteers worked tirelessly to help children find books.  Our thanks to Hackensack volunteers Susan Mengers, Sue Kaufman, Cindy Mierop and Lynn Marinaccio.   Lynn, Sue and Cindy returned to help in Paterson and were joined by Ginny Bryan, John Surak, Frances Harrison and Gwen Ndubulsi.  By 2 PM all 500 books were gone!

Success breeds problems!  Demand has increased for our books and so we find ourselves very low on books for elementary-school-age children.  We are particularly looking for fiction (often referred to as chapter books) and/or early readers (which usually have numbers in the upper right hand corner.)  Although our primary mission is reading and distributing books to preschool children, we have added distributing books to school-age children, particularly in the summer.  The need has grown as we have added weekly distributions to St. Joseph’s Pediatric Emergency Room in Paterson and biweekly distributions to the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiatives waiting room in Hackensack.  Added to our two summer park events, the supply of books for this age group is now very low.

If any of you have books that your children have outgrown, or know people who might make a donation, it would be very helpful.

Please give me a call if you have books or any questions about our need.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!


Spring BookFest! 2017

Read to Know’s Spring BookFest! 2017 was a smashing success.  Approximately 280 children and adults participated.  The numbers were swelled by Volunteer John Surak rounding up children on the main library floor, Ginny Bryan putting up balloons and children’s librarian Gwen Ndubuisi urging children to come upstairs.  The children and their parents took home about 1,700 mostly new books.  Volunteers were on hand to help with their selections.  Young volunteers from Faith Chapel Reformed Church also supervised the crafts table where children were busily drawing pictures and affixing stickers to their works.  At noon, there was a drawing for prize books.  There were three boxed sets, Curious George, Ivy and Bean and Harry Potter.

BookFest! is a cooperative effort and our thanks go to:

St Paul’s Community Development Corporation for transporting the books in the rain.

Members of Great Falls YouthBuild under the supervision of Marc Damon Smith for unloading the books and setting up the room.

The girls and their leaders from Faith Chapel Reformed Church Pioneers in Faith who helped the children pick out books, kept the tables refilled and worked with the crafts.

The Paterson Library staff who once again made us feel welcome and helped in numerous ways.  Gwen kept sending children up and came up herself to help.

Last and far from least, Read to Know’s volunteers:

Jennifer Tsonas, who coordinated the Friday setup.  Saturday volunteers Carol Ann Mathes, Joann Peay, Sally Kline, Sharyn Bauer, Yvette Smallwood, Deidre Pauldo, John Surak, Virginia Bryan, Barbara Malone, Phyllis Schneiderman, Gloria Thomas, and Raquel Acevedo.  Each one pitched in and did whatever needed to be done to make the day a success.

Two Great Days

This summer, Read to Know held two “mini-BookFests,” one at Foschini Park in Hackensack, and one in Eastside Park in Paterson.

The Hackensack event was held on Friday, August 5th, in Foschini Park.  About 275 children selected from about 370 books.  A plus was that it was a gorgeous day!  Although our main goal was to have children take books home, a few “borrowed” books to read during lunch and returned them!  Even so, it was a sellout.  Thanks to Lynne Vanderveer, Sharyn Bauer, Dennis Pearson and Lolly Burgin who helped set up the display and guide the children in their choices of books.  Special thanks to Randy Jackson for transporting the books.

The Paterson event was held in Eastside Park, Paterson on a hot sunny day.  The Paterson Recreation Department had provided a table plus a canopy for protection from the sun.  The children came in waves and by early afternoon all 500 books were gone. Our thanks to Sue Kaufman, Dolores Most, Ginny Bryan, John Surak and Frances Harrison for helping the children select books both from the table and the boxes where we kept the extras.  Once again Randy Jackson transported the books and helped us with the setup and taking down of our display. Director Lolly Burgin commented that the enthusiasm of the kids and the staff made our efforts worthwhile.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the fall BookFest! at the Garfield Library on Saturday, October 22.  More information to follow.

Paterson Public Library BookFest! Spring 2016

Read to Know held its 11th Spring BookFest! at the Paterson Library on April 2nd, 2016.  While the crowd was smaller than last year’s record turnout, children and parents were thrilled with the outstanding collection of books.  There was a mixture of new books donated by Barnes and Noble and Michael’s Craft Store,   and gently used books collected by volunteers.  Emma Vicinanza, a 13 year old Glen Rock resident, collected over 1,900 books.  Bilingual books were available for the first time.  An additional treat for the children were the drawings for special boxed book sets.

Events such as BookFest! do not take place without the help and cooperation of many volunteers and groups.  Special thanks goes to St. Paul’s CDC food pantry which transported the books in its van. Coordinated by Read to Know part-time staffer Randy Jackson, the men loaded and unloaded the books.  Paterson Library staff members set up the room and were as always supportive and helpful.

Our thanks to the following volunteers:
Friday—Jennifer Tsonas, Lolly Burgin.

Saturday—Janet Freed, Phyllis Schneiderman, Norma Levy, John Surak, Carol Ann Mathes, Sally Kline, Cindy Mierop, McKenzie Friedman, Deidre Pauldo, Yvette Smallwood, Mary Peragine, Raquel Acevedo, Maggie Latona, Jennifer Tsonas and Emma Vicinanza.

Hackensack Public Library BookFest! Fall 2015

Read to Know held its fall BookFest! on Saturday, Nov 14th, at the Johnson Library in Hackensack.  Although the number of attendees was off somewhat, those who attended enjoyed selecting books and doing crafts.  A new feature this year was a drawing for two sets of boxed books.

Our thanks go to the volunteers who made it all happen:

Phyllis Schneiderman, Norma Levy, Ginny Bryan, Carol Ann Mathes, Dottie Ogden, Yris Mendel, Zack Weisner, Jonathan Rodriguez, Raquel Acevedo, Eva and Kyle Purvin.  Our volunteers were joined this year by students from Bergen Community College – Taylor Torres, Dana Cannini, and Maribel Rosas.

Mary Lee Cimonelli and her sons transported the books and did the Friday setup, helped by Susan Mengers and Lolly Burgin.




Paterson Public Library BookFest! Spring 2015

BookFest! Spring 2015 really had an overwhelming turnout, including reporters from the Record and the Paterson Press.   As a new feature this year, we had drawings for two door prizes, quilt squares paired with an appropriate stuffed animal and children’s book.  The prizes were donated by Lynn Bagley.

Events such as BookFest! cannot take place without the help of many people. During the weeks prior to BookFest!, volunteers Daryl Boylan, Maria Schiavo, Yris Manual, Zack Wissner, Linda Voorhis, and Gabriel Voorhis Allen helped director Lolly Burgin sort, box and label the boxes.

 Our thanks first to the staff of the Paterson Free Public Library who as always made us feel welcome and helped make the event a success.

The Friday setup took place in record time. Our thanks to Tim Hartmann who loaded the truck and transported the books to the library.  Great Falls YouthBuild members under the direction of Marc Damon Smith were there to unload and set up.  Read to Know volunteers Virginia Lambert, Tina Fadlalla, and Etrudes Williams supervised the layout of the books.  Saturday volunteers helped the children find books, distributed door prize tickets, put out more books as needed, and generaly kept order in a very crowded room!  Added to the attendees and volunteers were reporters from the Paterson Press and the Bergen Record.  Our thanks to Kevin Quimbo, Maggie Latona, Christine and Sean Hickey, Norma Levy, Joann Peay, Ginny Bryan (who supplied the balloons), Yvette Smallwood, Deidre Pauldo, Phyllis Schneiderman, Gloria Thomas, Linda Greenberg, Yris Manual, Zack Wissner, Mercedes and Carolina Zulaga, and Kyle and Carrie Purvin.  Kyle ran a book drive at his elementary school in Wyckoff and then came to Saturday’s event to help distribute the many books he had collected!

On to the fall BookFest!

Read the full article at here.