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Simon Foundation gives $1M to library literacy initiative

 IBJ Staff
September 9, 2009
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The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation today announced that it has received a $1 million gift from the Herbert Simon Family Foundation to expand its early childhood literacy initiative.

The program, “Ready to Read,” prepares children under 5 years old for school through a series of specialized programs and services.

One of those, “On the Road to Reading,” will use the grant money to help it quadruple the number of children the library reaches in licensed, home-based daycare centers who receive book deliveries and listen to story-time programs. The library estimates that nearly 2,600 children will be served by the program.

The library said it also plans to develop more programming for preschoolers within branch libraries, to provide new child-friendly computers equipped with educational software and to dedicate a new early-learning Web site.

Library Foundation President Danny Dean said in a written statement that he is grateful for the Simon Foundation’s support. Herb Simon is co-owner of the Indiana Pacers and co-founder of the company that became Simon Property Group.

“A respected community leader, Mr. Simon is also an avid reader,” Dean said. “We are honored he chose to share his enthusiasm for reading with the children of Indianapolis through a gift to the Library Foundation.”

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