The Newark Public Library Foundation, a fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, announced that it has received a $1 million grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to be used over the next two years. The grant from the philanthropic foundation will allow the Library to digitize and bring to life a wealth of historic materials in the Library’s collections related to the Great Migration of African Americans and the Latino Immigration Experience, and make them easily accessible in schools, library branches and homes. The grant will also enable the development of family literacy initiatives in concert with local schools and support the Library’s future fundraising efforts.

“Our Founder, Andrew Carnegie, believed that a library outranks any one thing a community can do to benefit its people. In the case of the Newark Public Library, we couldn’t agree more,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “This grant will empower the Library to expand the remarkable work it is doing to improve family literacy.”

Rosemary Steinbaum, Chair of the Newark Public Library Foundation, added, “We are honored and grateful that Carnegie Corporation of New York recognizes the importance of this initiative, which centers on giving families access to stories and materials that reflect their own backgrounds and engage them in reading and writing. We hope that other organizations will be inspired to offer support, as well.” 

“The Newark Public Library is an anchor institution in our city and one that has enriched the lives of our residents for nearly 130 years,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “This grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York is powerful because it will help the Library foster literacy where it is most needed – in families.” 

According to Newark Public Library Board President, Timothy Crist, nearly one-third of Newark residents live below the Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines and the city has an adult illiteracy rate of 52 percent. In addition to a significant education and skills gap, a large portion of residents are faced with immigration challenges and 44 percent speak a language other than English at home.

“The Library is working closely with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, as well as local schools and social service agencies, to improve educational and career opportunities for Newark residents. This tremendous grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York will help Newark families develop reading skills using materials relevant to their own family experiences and aid them in achieving educational goals,” said Crist.