Yonkers Public Library Wins Prestigious State Award For Summer Reading Buddies Program

The New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries announced that the 2023 Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award has been awarded to Yonkers Public Library (YPL) for the Summer Reading Buddies program. 

The Joseph F. Shubert Excellence Award is given annually to recognize the achievements of libraries and library consortia in New York State. This year, members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries 2023 Shubert Award Committee unanimously voted to award the 2023 Shubert Award to YPL. The award was officially presented on Nov. 3, 2023 at the New York Library Association Conference in Saratoga, NY by State Librarian Lauren Moore. 

“Yonkers Public Library is a great example of using resources within the community to meet a need in the community the library serves,” said Grace Riario, Chair of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries.

Summer Reading Buddies is an intergenerational reading and mentorship program, offered in partnership with the Family Service Society of Yonkers and hosted at YPL’s Riverfront Library, located in downtown Yonkers. The program trains volunteer mentors (who are mainly older adults) in the best practices around reading with and to new readers, many of whom are first generation English speakers. 

“We’re honored to receive this award, and we share it with a great partner in the Family Service Society of Yonkers.” said YPL Library Director Jesse Montero.

Jesse Montero and Nancy Maron receive Shubert Award from State Librarian Lauren Moore

Above: YPL Director Jesse Montero and YPL Board President Nancy Maron accept the Shubert Award from New York State Librarian Lauren Moore.

"Summer Reading Buddies does everything we love to see library programs do - encourage reading, connection, and fun in our community. And nothing compares to the excitement and energy in the library when the program is in session,” said Nancy Maron, Library Board President.  

Photos of Summer Reading Buddies mentors and students connect with each other

Above: Summer Reading Buddies mentors and students connect with each other.

Originally launched in 2004, Summer Reading Buddies delivers resources and convenes community partners including Yonkers Public Schools, local STEM organizations, financial and health literacy partners, elected officials, and more. This enables the program to extend beyond reading into offering wraparound services for families, including nutritional support, parenting workshops, fun and inviting programs and spaces, and intergenerational mentorship and relationship building. 

Combined, the program not only provides the educational benefits of reading but the physical, social and emotional health of the participants. In 2023, the Yonkers Public Library hosted 110 mentors and 397 students for each of its six weeks, with students reading 1,822 books. While doing so, the library also distributed 350 meals per day to families in need, for a total of 6,228 meals over the course of the program. 

Photos of Summer Reading Buddies families attending resource fairs and free lunches

Above: Summer Reading Buddies families attend resource fairs and access free meals.

“This recognition celebrates not only Yonkers Public Library’s and Family Service Society of Yonkers’ accomplishments through Summer Reading Buddies but the shared enthusiasm, dedication, and innovation that have fueled this initiative that is making a lasting impact on our community,” said Anietra Guzmán-Santana, Senior Director, Family Service Society of Yonkers.

“Congratulations to Yonkers Public Library for this outstanding achievement, recognizing YPL’s continuous efforts in making our libraries a place of learning, both educationally and emotionally,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “Thanks to YPL and FSSY, I look forward to Summer Reading Buddies each year and connecting with an eager young reader.” This is YPL’s first time receiving this prestigious award. As the 2023 Shubert Award winner, YPL will receive $1,000. 

Clockwise from left: City of Yonkers elected officials Councilmember Tasha Diaz, Councilmember Corazon Pineda-Isaac and Mayor Mike Spano read to their Buddies

Above (Clockwise from left): City of Yonkers elected officials Councilmember Tasha Diaz, Councilmember Corazon Pineda-Isaac and Mayor Mike Spano read to their Buddies

For more information about the Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award and the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, visit: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/rac/award/index.html.


About Yonkers Public Library

Yonkers Public Library is the largest library in Westchester County. It consists of three locations: Riverfront Library, our main branch, in downtown Yonkers, the Grinton I. Will Library on Central Avenue, and the Crestwood Library in the Crestwood section of the city. Our mission is to change lives every day. Our expert, trusted staff help all the people of Yonkers find the information they need, the programs they enjoy, and the reading they love. For more information about Yonkers Public Library, visit www.ypl.org.

About Family Service Society of Yonkers (FSSY)

Founded in 1883, Family Service Society of Yonkers’ mission is to be the premier provider of comprehensive services which improve the quality of lives of individuals and families of diverse backgrounds in Westchester County. Currently FSSY has approximately 250 staff and more than 350 volunteers. FSSY, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, provides services for elderly and disabled individuals, including: housing for the homeless, guardianship, and case management supports. FSSY runs a range of educational programs for public school students and parents, including five days per week after school programs, literacy mentorship programs, and parent educational programs.  FSSY is also a leading provider of quality volunteer opportunities for Westchester’s retirees and seniors.


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