About

Literacy in Motion is driven by a simple idea: By increasing access to age-appropriate reading material for children, we can promote literacy, strengthen families, and empower urban communities.

LIM will leverage the existing resources of New York City's public libraries to make reading materials available through book-vending kiosks. These kiosks will be placed in spaces that parents and children regularly visit, such as:

  • Community Centers
  • Public Transportation Stations
  • Laundromats
  • Public Housing Lobbies

The kiosks will each contain around thirty titles of varying reading level and will operate using public library cards. Checkouts will be free of charge, and each machine will include a box for book returns.

In short, LIM works toward two principal goals:

  • Accessibility: By making age-appropriate reading material more accessible to children and their parents, LIM will bring the joy of reading to previously underserved neighborhoods.
  • Engagement: LIM will foster a positive and enriching environment in low-income urban communities through parent outreach, teaching seminars, and strategic relationships with local leaders and organizations.

Literacy

Despite the best efforts of governments, nonprofits, and local communities, literacy remains a serious problem in our nation's low-income communities. Studies have shown that approximately 50% of unemployed young adults in the US are functionally illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs. Indeed, children who fail to develop some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3-4 times more likely to drop out in later years, further compounding an already serious issue.

Literacy in Motion aims to leverage existing resources to promote literacy and awareness through an innovative extension of local libraries: Book-Vending Kiosks. By bringing age-appropriate books directly into the communities that need them most, LIM will foster strong reading habits among children and families, spread the joy of reading, and improve the futures of low-income children in New York City.

Research

A core component of Literacy in Motion is research. As we roll out our kiosks, we will also conduct social, scientific, and statistical research on literacy and the impact of our kiosks on reading and circulation. Specifically, we will:

  • Perform social surveys in underserved communities about literacy awareness and reading behaviors among low-income families and their children
  • Gather and analyze statistical data collected from our kiosks to determine the efficacy of the LIM program in promoting library usage
  • Coordinate with local public schools to evaluate effects on student performance

Availability

As Professor Stephen Krashen has stated, "simply providing access is the first and most important step in encouraging literacy development." Unfortunately, many low-income families lack both access to quality, age-appropriate reading material and the financial resources to purchase such material.

Public libraries provide a vital service in low-income communities. However, for many working parents, it is difficult to find time to visit the local library branch during working hours. As a result, families -- and particularly children -- are deprived of access to this wonderful public resource. LIM will extend the library into regularly visited areas of low-income communities to ensure that parents and children have easy access to these vital educational resources.

Further, LIM will work closely with local branches of public libraries to ensure that we offer an ever-evolving set of high-quality reading material that is responsive to cultural and community language needs.

For Parents

Welcome parents! We are here to help you and your child share in the joy of reading. Did you know that reading with your child for just 20 minutes a day can significantly impact your child's future success? It's true! Getting your child ready to read means getting your child ready to succeed in school. Schools deliver the majority of their curriculum through the use of printed words. Reading is the most important skill your child will use throughout their many years as a student. This section will provide you with age appropriate books and activities for you to share with your child.

Donate Now!

Literacy in Motion was expressly designed to be cost-conscious, leveraging existing resources to improve access and outcomes in low-income communities. However, the operation is not cost-free. To meet our goals, LIM needs your help.

Your contribution will help LIM:

  • Perform important literacy research
  • Purchase and maintain our lending machines
  • Hire staff and community ambassadors
  • Expand Literacy in Motion to additional underserved communities
  • Increase the number of books we can place into the hands of families

Please consider donating here, or contact us at fundraising@literacynyc.org for more information about our fundraising efforts.

Contact

Joseph Musso
Executive Director and Director of Literacy

Before founding Literacy-in-Motion, Joe taught for several years in the New York City Public School system, first as a 5th grade generalist and then as the 5th grade science teacher. His experience in education further clarified a long-held belief: Education reform must be a comprehensive, societal effort, combining structural reforms with a direct effort to create educational opportunities and access to resources for all children. Joe received a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in 2011. While there, he served as the President of the Public Service Society, an organization dedicated to promoting education on, involvement in, and awareness of public service. Joe also has a Master of Science in Education in Special Education from Pace University and a Bachelor's Degree from Stonehill College, where he studied Elementary Education and English Literature.

joemusso@literacynyc.org

Lauren Henegan
Director of Parent Engagement

After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Skidmore College, Lauren worked as a classroom teacher for five years at P.S./I.S. 66k in Brooklyn, New York. Always making literacy a priority in her classroom, she went on to pursue a Master of Education in childhood literacy at Hunter College, which she completed after writing her thesis on methods of supporting parents in developing literacy rich homes. She currently volunteers at P.S./I.S. 66k as a literacy and writing consultant.

lbyers@literacynyc.org

John Byers
Director of Finance

John holds a degree in Management and Business from Skidmore College and is a Certified Public Accountant in New York State. After working for five years in the Audit and Enterprise Risk group at Deloitte and Touch LLP in New York City, he now works at The NASDAQ OMX Group as the Associate Director of Financial Reporting.

jbyers@literacynyc.org

Jameson Dempsey
Director of Media

Jameson is a law graduate based in Brooklyn, NY.* Jameson earned his B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Boston College, and his J.D., cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School. At Brooklyn Law School, he served as the editor-in-chief of the Brooklyn Law Review and as a clinician in the Brooklyn Law Incubator and Policy Clinic. In that latter role, Jameson provided pro bono legal services to early-stage technology companies in NYC, and led an outreach team focused on building partnerships between the clinic and local technology incubators.
*NY admission pending

jdempsey@literacynyc.org

Vikash Reddy
Director of Government and Community Partnerships

After graduating from Dartmouth College with an AB in Government in 2005, Vikash joined Teach for America as a third grade teacher. He spent three years teaching in a self-contained classroom in the East New York section of Brooklyn. The experience left a powerful impression on Vikash. Wanting to find a way to push for more widespread policy improvements, he began work on a PhD in Education Policy at Columbia University's Teachers College in the fall of 2008. Through his research and future goals, Vikash aims to expand access to resources for children in low-income neighborhoods, making him well suited to join in the work Literacy in Motion conducts. His parents, both college professors, emphasized education from an early age, and Vikash has vivid memories of learning to read at the dining table and being surrounded by books.

vreddy@literacynyc.org