The Beginnings

The Bookbinders’ Guild of New York was established in 1926 and has a long history in the publishing community. However, in 1992, some 66 years later, the then-President and ex-President (Janet McCarthy Grimm / Sally McCravey) decided that the Guild needed to support a worthy cause that was very close to all of us in the book industry and elect a new President that would follow this charge. We were then, and still are, a not-for-profit and there were excess funds that folks felt we could do some good things with.

Enter Paul Stanley, the new President-elect fresh from the UK! He took the charge and ran with it and what a journey is has been! Below is a brief synopsis / time line of our involvement:

  • A scrap yard in Nebraska (1992) – called an 800 number for Literacy America to ask where we could “invest” in something to do with literacy. The poor lady who answered was based in a Nebraska scrap yard of all places, working to connect people nationally with “anything” have to do with literacy.
  • “Nebraska” suggested we contact the New York City Mayor’s office and discuss with them our desire to make a New York connection with a literacy program or organization. The Mayor’s office forwarded us to the Literacy Assistance Center in downtown Manhattan.
  • The Literacy Assistance Center was delighted to meet with us! Together we developed a grass roots program and named it “The Bookbinders’ Guild Awards For Library Development”
  • The Guild’s “Promote Literacy Campaign” launched in 1992.
  • We reached out to both the Mayor of New York and the White House in Washington D.C and received letters of support from Mayor David Dinkins (April 14, 1992) and Barbara Bush (May 13, 1992) respectively. Communications from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani were received in later years.
  • Our first event was held Saturday, August 29, 1992 in Central Park as our inaugural Charity Softball Game against WNEW-FM 102.7. The radio station has since become defunct but back in the 90’s they were undoubtedly one of the most popular radio stations in the country.
  • Our second event—the first of our six daredevil fundraisers– was the “Bungee Jump For Literacy” (Summer 1993).
  • Another event—the “Bike Ride For Literacy” took place during the Great Five-Borough Bike Tour (August 1998). Six members of the Guild sought sponsors and raised $3,000.
  • The 15th Annual Literacy Recognition Awards Ceremony was held Friday, June 2, 2000. This ceremony was sponsored entirely by the Bookbinders’ Guild of New York. The Guild has sponsored this event annually now for over 10 years.
  • More daredevil events and softball games followed over the years – and now we busy planning our 26th annual softball event!
  • Latest literacy event with guest speaker and book signing at Random House – March 8, 2011

Why Literacy?

  • We had tried a scholarship program
  • There was an enormous community need
  • All about books!
  • A great cause

Why The Literacy Assistance Center?

  • Established in the literacy community
  • Aware of all needy programs
  • Grass roots program established – “Bookbinders’ Awards for Library Development”
  • Best of all: every dollar would go to the program

Today – Literacy Needs, Literacy Solutions

  • The disturbing truth about literacy in New York
  • Nationwide, 44 million adults, or 23% of the population, struggle at the lowest levels of literacy, according to a 1993 federal survey (NALS)

Most of these Americans can:

  • Locate a piece of information in a sports article
  • Total a blank deposit entry

They cannot:

  • Locate an intersection on a ramp
  • Fill out a Social Security card application
  • Calculate the total cost of a purchase on an order form

Why Literacy Matters:

The US Department of Health and Human Services has stated that the parents’ education level is a strong predictor of whether a child will be raised in poverty. When native-born adults become better readers and when immigrants learn to speak and read English, everyone benefits.

Benefits for Learners and their families:

  • Better health
  • Better jobs
  • More active participation in their children’s education
  • Higher standard of living

Benefits for the entire community:

  • A healthier, happier, better informed, more active citizenry
  • Decreased expenditures for public health, public assistance, and corrections
  • A well-educated workforce

How The LAC Helps

  • Provides free services for the literacy community in New York City and New York State
  • Professional development to ensure that literacy instructors and administrators have access to exemplary models of instruction
  • The LAC Academy offers rigorous, certificate-bearing courses to experienced and aspiring adult educators
  • A data collection and management system (ASISTS) designed to help programs monitor and report on their effectiveness

LAC / BIGNY- A Partnership

  • “Bookbinders’ Awards For Library Development” – 1992 to 2000 (replaced with awards made to the literacy programs of the winners’ of the Literacy Recognition Awards)
  • Mini Grants – $500 – $1,500
  • Needy programs (120+ supported to date)
  • Money for books, software and locking stations
    • Facilitated by the LAC
  • Joint committee to elect nominees

Funds to date in excess of $325,000 excluding the Guild’s contributions to the annual Literacy Recognition Awards Ceremony

Raised through:

  • Donations (individual and corporate – i.e. BMI)
  • Main fund raiser – Annual Charity Softball Game
  • Sponsored events (1993-1997)
  • Bungee Jump
  • Parachute Jump
  • Luge
  • Bobsled
  • White water rafting

“Literacy Recognitions Awards Ceremony”

  • Donation of $5,000 annually by the Guild
  • In recognition of exemplary literacy practitioners
  • Event held at Scholastic’s auditorium
  • Students, awardees and Book Industry Guild representatives attend ceremonies
  • New – Guild awards donated to LRA recipients (see above)
  • A celebration with guest speakers

Other Benefits:

  • Match volunteers to programs
  • Book Show – books donated to programs and lending library
  • Book Donations – facilitated from Publishers (i.e. ELT) for lending library

For more information or to donate / contact our partners at the Literacy Assistance Center –