Berlin library adds 110 books for elementary school students with African-American or Latino themes after Berlin Lions Club donation

Published on Friday, 22 April 2022 11:33
Written by Erica Drzewiecki


BERLIN – African-American and Latino children in town now have access to literature featuring – and written by – people that look like them.

A recent donation by the Berlin Lions Club means that their peers will also have an opportunity to broaden their literary and cultural horizons.

Lions’ President Dan Daigle and Boys & Girls Committee Chairman Paul Cavalieri visited the Berlin-Peck Library this April to see what their club’s generous donation made possible.

“What we did is direct an appropriate amount of funds for the library to buy 110 books primarily for elementary school students, which have African-American or Latino themes and were written by African-American or Latino authors,” Daigle said.

“I’m a past educator so this is near and dear to my heart,” Cavalieri added.

The Berlin Lions were among many clubs to participate in the Connecticut Lions District 23-B Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Book Drive. The goal was to promote inclusion and diversity by adding to local libraries’ book collections. Members raised money to make the donation.

Berlin-Peck Memorial Library Director Kimberly McNally and Children and Teen Services Director Jennifer Needham were thrilled to welcome a brand new collection to the shelves at the main library as well as two satellite libraries in East Berlin and Worthington Ridge.

“This is wonderful,” Needham said. “Totally unexpected.”

Lions’ members provided the library an age-appropriate list of titles, some of which they had already and some of which they purchased with the donation.

“I appreciated the diverse variety of voices and books we had not yet added to our collection,” McNally said.

“This helps us tremendously,” Needham pointed out. “Our community is really going to enjoy these.”

Staff put Berlin Lions Club nameplates inside the front cover of each book so readers will know where they came from.

“I like to say that books are mirrors and windows,” Needham said. “Children need to see themselves in books and they also provide windows to the world and other cultures.”

Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Friday, 22 April 2022 11:33. Updated: Friday, 22 April 2022 11:35.