The Reading Room
Black and Williams Neighborhood Center
498 Georgetown Street
Lexington, KY 40508
At a Glance
Located in the Black and Williams Neighborhood Center, The Reading Room serves kids who live on and around Georgetown Street.
The Reading Room is a place for kids to come and read a variety of books in a beautiful and relaxing space.
The mission of The Reading Room is to foster a lifelong love of reading and literature.
The Reading Room is made possible by the donations of many generous community partners.
Located on the second floor of the Black and Williams Neighborhood Center, the Reading Room began as a dream of Chris Ford, Lexington's Social Service Commissioner, who wanted a place where children in this neighborhood could kick off their shoes, find a comfortable spot, and read a book that transports them to another place and time.
78% of families with children under 5 years old in this neighborhood have an income below poverty level, and 56% of married couples living in the area live below the poverty level. Research by the National Education Association (NEA) finds that that children who live in homes with incomes below the poverty level are less likely to be read to than their peers who come from families that live at or above the poverty line, and that "children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school."
Illiteracy is a HUGE problem in the United States as detailed by some of the following statistics from The Literacy Project Foundation:
Three out of four people on welfare cannot read
44 million adults are unable to read a simple story to their children
Illiteracy costs American tax payers an estimated $20 billion a year
50% of American adults cannot read a book written at an 8th grade level
Between 46% and 51% of American adults have an income well below the poverty level because of their inability to read.
The Reading Room provides children access to a wide range of books that they may not read in school or have at home: books about snakes, adventures in the Wild West or even about a Magic Tree House that transports the reader to Ancient Egypt and the Pyramids. Children can listen to books being read aloud, and even take books home to keep. Fostering a lifelong love of reading and literature will help children dream about bigger things, and can help make those dreams come true!