Books@Work Honored As An Innovator by the National Book Foundation

Books@Work Honored As An Innovator by the National Book Foundation

We’re proud to announce that Books@Work has been recognized as an innovative advocate for reading by the prestigious National Book Foundation. The Foundation released its 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize, and Books@Work received an honorable mention, one of only four. The winner (Barbershop Books of NYC) and the three other honorable mentions (based in NYC, Boston and Princeton, NJ) were recognized for developing “new ways to empower communities through literature.”

We are in great company and we stand out as unique among the honorees.  The other organizations recognized by the National Book Foundation mostly focus on developing a love of reading in children whereas Books@Work’s sole focus is on adults in the workplace and the community.

Florida Avenue Grill

Books@Work participants at Florida Avenue Grill in Washington, DC.

The Innovations in Reading Prize is awarded annually and identifies literary activists (either an individual or an organization) that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading. Books@Work brings professors into the workplace to facilitate reading groups bringing together a diverse cross-section of employees. The readings are narrative (fiction and non-fiction), carefully chosen to deal with themes that inspire a robust discussion on values, issues, and beliefs. Employers who integrate Books@Work into their companies report better communication, critical thinking, and productive open conversation among employees across all hierarchies and functions. Books@Work helps create an organizational culture where people feel safe to express a viewpoint, offer new ideas, give feedback, respectfully disagree with each other and question assumptions.

Dr. Susan Sweeney, president of global manufacturer GGB Bearing Technology and Books@Work participant, wrote a recommendation letter in support of Books@Work’s bid for the NBF prize.

“I was excited to sponsor and participate in Books@Work when I learned about the program two years ago,” wrote Dr. Sweeney. “I thought it would be a fun way to share my love of reading. What I never anticipated was the authentic and rewarding method of connecting to people that came with this experience. . . Books@Work creates something special that deserves to be recognized. It is a unique way to not only support reading in the workplace, but to build connections that last.”

Books@Work is one of four honorable mentions. Others include the Great Reading Games from Learning Ally (Princeton, NJ), Poetry-in-Motion from the Poetry Society of America (New York, NY), and Reach Out and Read (Boston, MA). The $10,000 prize winner is Barbershop Books (New York, NY), an organization that builds child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops.

The National Book Foundation also invited Books@Work executive director Ann Kowal Smith to host a session at the National Book Foundation’s second annual Why Reading Matters conference on June 15 in Long Island City, NY. The conference brings together educators, non-profit administrators, librarians, academics, publishing professionals, writers and literary activists.

Learn More About Our Programs or Read More on The Notebook

Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan is a Development Communications Associate at the Cleveland Orchestra and a part-time member of the Books@Work team. She continues to write posts for our blog.