Charlie Della Penna, a junior and honors student at Fox Lane High School, has created a local library for his neighborhood to help families have a supply of books for their children and themselves to read since public libraries are closed due to the Coronavirus.
He has also created a Facebook page which he updates regularly where he lists the book titles that are available for both adults and children so that families know what’s in stock before making the trip. Here is the link to Charlie’s Facebook page entitled, “Charlie’s Neighborhood Library”: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=101948921488373&ref=br_rs.
Charlie is even offering to deliver books for people that are confined to their homes. He is hoping to get the word out to families that his lending library is available for them and that books do not have to be returned. As Charlie says, “With distance learning, students are doing the majority of their schoolwork online, and using the internet to stream shows and connect with their friends through social media. Taking a break from the screens to enjoy a story with a parent or sibling, or just finding a quiet place to hold a book in your hand and read is another way to occupy all of this newfound time we have”.
This past summer and fall Charlie held a book drive at several bookstores in the area to collect books for schools who don’t have money to purchase books for their students, specifically elementary school classes. He collected a little over 5,400 books and gave them to two Charter schools in the Bronx in addition to a school in Danbury. Charlie also had several hundred books left over in his garage so he’s using some of those books to stock the library he placed on a pole outside of his house. Charlie’s neighborhood has started to notice and more families come by every day.
Over the past few summers, Charlie has volunteered at Neighbor’s Link in Mt. Kisco where he would read books to the children. As Charlie says, “the kids would love me reading to them so I thought creating a library now for my neighborhood would be a good way to help kids still enjoy reading with their parents and be able to get a new story to enjoy before bedtime.”