Village Books Receives $7500 James Patterson Grant for Kids’ Programming

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Submitted by Village Books

village books bellinghamVillage Books is the recipient of a $7500 grant from bestselling author James Patterson as part of his Million Dollars to Indie Bookstores program. The start-up grant will support the store’s children’s programming, including the new position of Kids Programming Director, filled by Claire McElroy-Chesson, a bookseller who has been with the store for several years and leads various children’s events.

“We were thrilled to be included in James Patterson’s Million Dollar support of indie bookstores,” said Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books. “His grant will make it possible to launch the new Kids Programming Director position in a much bigger way than we would otherwise have been able to do.”

James Patterson will give a total of $1 million dollars to dozens of independent bookstores across the country. His independent bookstore campaign has been featured in the “New York Times” and “Publisher’s Weekly” as well as on “CBS This Morning” and “NPR Morning Edition.” Patterson announced his second round of grants, which included Village Books, at the Book Expo America trade show in New York City at the end of May. Store owners Chuck and Dee Robinson picked up the check at the event.

Village Books will be using the grant to support McElroy-Chesson’s position and to expand on the programs and services to children, families and local schools. In her new role, McElroy-Chesson will work with the children’s book buyer and events coordinator in planning a variety of activities for kids of all ages. She’ll work closely with schools in planning author visits and book fairs, she will lead non-author children’s events at the store, and she will assist with other activities. McElroy-Chesson will lead this year’s Camp VB, a week-long, half-day camp for kids, and she hosts story time the first Saturday of every month in the kids’ section.

“Claire has been with Village Books for a long time and has already been engaged in kids programming,” said Robinson. “She’s the perfect person to step into this position. She’s already created a number of new activities and has many more in the works.”

James Patterson’s grants come at a time when independent bookstores work hard to stand out as community hubs in the face of online retail giants. Patterson is committed to bringing attention to the important contributions of indie bookstores, and he is especially concerned with inspiring children to become lifelong readers. Patterson worked with the American Booksellers Association, publishers and fellow authors to identify stores that would be good candidates, and he accepts applications from viable bookstores that have a children’s book section in their stores. Grants are personally funded by Patterson. For more information about James Patterson and his program, click here.

“It’s great that someone like James Patterson recognizes the value of independent bookstores to our country’s culture and to the future of reading. Everyone should be grateful for his generosity,” said Robinson.


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