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The Bridge to End Book Deserts

Molly Ness, Ph.D. Shines the Light on Literacy Inc. in Her Innovative Podcast Series

We are honored and delighted to share our first podcast -- an episode of End Book Deserts with literacy researcher, educator and author Molly Ness, Ph.D.

You may be wondering - what is a book desert? A book desert is a geographic area where reading materials are scarce and Molly’s goal to eradicate them completely. She interviews leaders committed to improving book access and equity and uses her podcast platform, End Book Deserts to advocate for the children affected by this drought (or crisis). According to Molly’s research, 45% of US children live in neighborhoods that lack public libraries and stores that sell books, or in homes where books are an unaffordable luxury. These are the children LINC serves in New York City, many of which we still need to reach.

“Every parent wants their child to succeed.” -- Shari Levine, Executive Director, LINC

LINC’s Executive Director Shari Levine and Associate Director of Staten Island, Rosalind Diaz were ecstatic when Molly asked them to describe LINC’s efforts to end book deserts in New York City, and join her roster of innovative organizations dedicated to raising awareness of how limited literacy resources profoundly affect children’s reading development.

LINC has been working to solve the literacy crisis in New York City for almost 25 years, and sadly it is a crisis that is unknown to many New Yorkers. The vast majority of children entering school don’t have the literacy skills they need to succeed in school and in life. This becomes evident when children are tested in 3rd grade and are not reading on grade level. They need tools and opportunities to participate in literacy programs, be part of a network that supports literacy in their community and surrounded by a culture of reading. LINC connects communities with these resources and opportunities, and operates programs in 10 underserved communities across the five boroughs of New York City.

LINC works like a bridge to end book deserts by building trust in the community and connecting them to the resources they need. According to Associate Director, Staten Island Rosalind Diaz, “trust is a huge factor, families must feel safe and LINC builds that trust by being consistently visible in the community.”

“You are the first and forever teacher of your child.” These words resonate as families see that LINC staff are their neighbors. They are real people that live and work in their neighborhoods and they are here to stay.” Seeing LINC in their communities empowers parents and builds the trust they need to make use of the resources available to them. “We are a bridge.” LINC works with elected officials, the New York City Department of Education, and over 150 community and corporate partners to establish trusting relationships.

See for yourself. The message is loud and clear.

Listen to our podcast. Rate it on Itunes and share it with your friends and colleagues on social media. Tell us what you think. Together we can create a culture of literacy where all children can succeed.

Thank you, Dr. Molly Ness for shining the light on the literacy crisis in New York City.

To learn more about Dr. Molly Ness and other innovative literacy organizations working to end book deserts, visit:

To learn more about LINC and make a donation, visit:


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