Worcester Community Book Drive

Goal: 35,000 Summer Reading Books

Monday, March 21st marks the kick-off for the 11th Annual Book Drive by Worcester: the City that Reads Committee to collect books (Pre-K to Grade 8) for summer reading.  This year's theme is “Spring into Books” and will continue until May 15th.   

Books Collected

The Committee was founded by John and Anne-Marie Monfredo twelve years ago in an attempt to promote literacy in the community, put books into the hands of children who lack books in their homes, and to promote the importance of being a life time reader.   In ten years the group has given out over 320,000 books to the children in this community!

According to John Monfredo, “Last year was outstanding for we collected over 35,000 children’s books.”    Traditionally, the books have been distributed to low-income students, social agencies, and groups with summer school programs.  In addition, books have also been given to schools and groups during the year for special projects such as a start up library at a school, AVID programs, innovation school projects, SPED, two-way bilingual schools, and all HEAD START schools. 

Books last year were also given to Plumbley Village,  Rainbow Child Development, the African Education Institute, Worcester Housing, the Y.W.C.A., Y.M.C.A., all private and public preschool programs, Head Start,  Books for Babies program, as well as  to church groups with summer reading programs, United Way programs and to  many other social agencies.  After May 15th, the books will be distributed to the schools during “Reading In Our City Week”  initiated by “Worcester: the City that Reads” during the week of June 12th.

John Monfredo  stated that the drive is off to a great start for the Houghton Mufflin Harcourt publishing company donated over 4500 new books to the drive.  In an attempt to spread the importance of literacy in our community, John Monfredo affirmed, “This year we also would like the schools and the Worcester Public Library to conduct a book swap when they return from their summer break as a way of continuing the importance of reading throughout the year.  We want to keep the books circulating. “      

“According to the research on literacy, studies clearly indicate that children in homes that have books are more likely to succeed in school, while children who don’t have adequate reading skills are much more likely to drop out of school.  One study found that the ability to read well is the single best indicator of future economic success – regardless of family background,” stated John Monfredo.

 Anne-Marie Monfredo, a former teacher stated, “We started this committee to encourage the children in our community to develop a love for reading and to put books into the hands of those who have so few.  As the former secretary of education Richard Riley stated years ago, “If every child were read to daily, from infancy, it would revolutionize education in this country.”

“We all know that reading serves as the major foundational skill for all school based learning.  John Monfredo a former principal, acknowledged, “I strongly recommend the emphasis be placed on early childhood literacy from birth to age eight.  These are critical years for literacy development in linking a child’s success in learning to read.  Children’s author Emilie Buchward said it best, “Parents play a vital role in this undertaking for children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

More drop off sites have been added this year as well as more groups have come forward and are conducting their own book drives for the cause.

Please donate a new or gently used books, Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 8, at the following sites from now  to May 15th.

  • People’s United People’s Bank ( (all five city branches in Worcester)
  • Worcester Public Library
  • Commerce Bank (all four city branches) including Holden
  • Bay State Savings Bank (all branches)
  • Bank of America ( at Tatnuck Square)
  • TD Bank  located on West Boylston Street
  • Stop and Shop on Lincoln Street
  • Stop and Shop on Grafton Street
  • Stop and Shop on West Boylston Street
  • Shaws Market on West Boylston Street
  • RSVP and the Senior Center on Vernon Street
  • Worcester Credit Union – on West Boylston Street
  • Starbucks Coffee on one West Boylston Street
  • Panera’s on West Boylston Street
  • Austin Liquor at Gold Star Blvd
  • Jewish Community Center on Salisbury Street
  • Leader’s Way – Kung Fu Academy on Burncoat Street
  • Greendale YMCA
  • Main Street YMCA
  • Bagel Inn on Main Street in Holden, Ma.
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital at the entrance door on Summer Street
  • Summit Elder Care on Grafton Street
  • Worcester Public Schools School Committee Office – 20 Irving Street
  • Worcester City Hall at the City Manager’s Office
  • Anne’s Books Shop on James Street in Worcester
  • Congressman James McGovern’s office- 12 East Worcester Street
  • Eco Tarium in Worcester
  • UMass Memorial Hospital – Belmont Street
  • UMass Medical – Plantation Street

For more information, or if other schools or businesses are interested in helping out please call John or Anne-Marie Monfredo at (508) 853-3444.  Remember, everyone can help in this most worthwhile community service project and bring the joy of reading to every child.  As the Monfredo’s stated, “No skill is more crucial to the future of a child or to a community, than literacy.”