James Patterson makes first grants to school libraries; donations to total $1.75 million

James Patterson

James Patterson is giving away $1.75 million to school libraries.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

James Patterson, named the highest-earning author in the world by Forbes, has been working hard to get rid of some of his money. The mystery writer has given over $1 million to independent bookstores in the past two years, and in March, he announced he’d be donating $1.25 million to school libraries through a grant program with Scholastic Reading Club.

Today, Patterson made good on his word, announcing the first 127 schools to receive grants through the program. The initial round of disbursements will pay out $500,000, and Patterson has upped the ante: The total he’ll be giving to school libraries now stands at $1.75 million.

Scholastic and Patterson received over 28,000 requests for the grants. The application for the program asked only “What would your school library do with $1,000 to $10,000?” The program was open to elementary, middle and high schools in the United States, and both public and private schools were eligible for the grants.

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Patterson said he was moved to launch the program because the country “is truly in the middle of a crisis.” The author noted: “I’ve now read over a thousand letters from school librarians, teachers and parents about the lack of resources at our country’s schools. How will children make it to high school without access to books? This is a huge problem — and we have to take action.”

The program still has $1.25 million left to distribute to schools. The recipients of those grants will be announced in stages through the end of the year.

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