mobilebookcart-237x300Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization in Bethlehem donated 1,000 books to the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley for use in its Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley serves about 2,500 low income individuals each month whose children are typically not enrolled in daycare or pre-K programs.  As a result, these vulnerable children start kindergarten without the reading skills and confidence necessary to succeed in school.

Every child enrolled in the WIC program will receive a new book on their first birthday from Judith’s Reading Room, estimated at 50 a month.

“This beautiful donation couldn’t come at a better time,” says Lorna Velazquez, executive director of HCLV, which is located in Bethlehem.  “As funding dwindles for important initiatives such as the SPARK Early Literacy Program, our community looks for ways to incorporate books and reading into our children’s lives.”

The collection of gently used and new books valued at $8,870 was curated by Ana Luhrs, a librarian at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. who grew up in a family that received services from WIC.HCLV LOGO.jpg.cropped525x195o150,-5s240x200

“As a young girl, I would often accompany my mother to our local WIC office and I can recall spending many hours sitting in the waiting room with little to keep me occupied,” says Luhrs, a board member of Judith’s Reading Room.  “I know that my 11-year-old self would have loved to have access to books during those long afternoons.”

The library, which includes an extensive collection of the popular SkippyJon Jones books, Spanish and bilingual titles, is being donated in honor of Luhrs’ parents, Nydia Theodorakis and Luis Alberto Ramirez and other hardworking families struggling to provide for their children.

Established in 2010 by Cathy and Scott Leiber, Judith’s Reading Room promotes “Freedom through Literacy” with the goal of enriching lives by providing books for those who do not have access to them.  Thus far, Judith’s Reading Room has donated 46 custom libraries to organizations in six states and six countries, including the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.

For more information visit