We Can Read! Cranberry Library Participating in Project to Honor Sandy Hook Victims

The library is collecting new and gently-used books throughout January.

After learning of Slippery Rock University Professor Alice Del Vecchio’s efforts to honor the children and teachers who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14 with the "We Can Read!" book drive, Leslie Pallotta knew it was the perfect project for the and its patrons, to participate in.

“We sort of have an embarrassment of riches with people donating to us,” Pallotta, the library’s director, said. “This is just a way for us to share with others.”

Throughout January, donations of new and gently-used children's books may be dropped off in one of the “Cranberry Cares” bins located inside the Cranberry Township Municipal Center on Rochester Road.

By Valentine's Day, the books will be distributed to children in the Butler County Head Start program.

“It was just a natural tie in, getting books to kids,” Pallotta said of the library’s participation in the project. “This is something we can absolutely help with.”

The Student Nonprofit Alliance at Slippery Rock is organizing the We Can Read! Program. Del Vecchio, an assistant professor of professional studies, is advisor to the organization.

“The tragic loss of the children and their teachers at the school left everyone trying to make sense of a world that seems turned upside down,” Del Vecchio said in a press release. “Most of us would like to do something to help, but what? We were looking for a way we could honor the children who were just learning to read and those who taught them, when we conceived the ‘We Can Read’ project.”

The project asks participants to purchase a children’s book, read it to a child and then donate the book to the We Can Read! project.

Del Vecchio said the books would be sent to regional child-serving organizations, including Head Start programs, day care centers, elementary schools, children’s libraries and other similar programs.

“We are encouraging others across the nation to organize similar ‘We Can Read’ book collections within their communities for distribution within their own regions,” Del Vecchio said.

The hope is those organizing related projects will keep the Student Nonprofit Alliance informed of collection totals and distribution sites, Del Vecchio said. The alliance also will send a Valentine’s Day letter to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., to share the project’s results.

For more information about the We Can Read! project, or to notify the organization of book drive totals, email srustudentnonprofitalliance@gmail.com.

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