L to R—David Chew, Bill Donaruma, Susan Donovan,
Mary Donaruma, Tony Terry, Rich Shanahan
L to R—David Chew, Bill Donaruma, Susan Donovan, Mary Donaruma, Tony Terry, Rich Shanahan


Branford, Conn. [February 19, 2013] In its continuing effort to improve and

encourage literacy in town, the Branford Rotary Club recently completed a

project that has developed the previous children’s area into a presentable and

usable space for the Stony Creek community at the Willoughby Wallace

Memorial Library. The reconfigured area entices preschoolers and their parents

to take advantage of the positive benefit of books and of utilizing the resources of

their local library.

Books for preschoolers had been housed by the library in plastic bins on the floor

and sorted by category (dinosaurs, princesses, trucks, etc.). As space and

seating were at a minimum, the setup was less than ideal.

Branford Rotarians, including Mary Donaruma (project coordinator and literacy

chair), Bill Donaruma, Traci Knapp, Rich Shanahan, Chip Marsh, David Chew,

and Tony Terry (club president) assembled new wooden mobile book islands and

seating units in a design providing “kid appeal.” Mary Donaruma, a regular user

of the Willoughby Wallace facility, has observed more usage of the newly

developed space and found the endeavor to be an “enriching experience.”

According to Library Director, Susan Donovan, “We are convinced that the

reorganization of our picture book materials will…have a significant impact on

their circulation, but will also offer our youngest readers and their parents a

greater appreciation of the importance of early literacy and the place Branford

libraries play in that quest.”

The funds for the new space furniture were provided by the Branford Rotary Club

and, in part, by a matching grant supplied by the Rotary District 7980 Foundation.

A subsequent grant application is being submitted to procure a digital projector

and sound speakers to allow for presentations to occur.

The assistance given to the library exemplifies Branford Rotary’s ongoing effort in

the field of literacy. Previous activities include the annual Dictionary Project

where all 3rd graders are provided with a personal dictionary, and scheduled

read-alouds at Branford’s public libraries.

The Rotary Club of Branford is an organization of women and men

representing a cross-section of local business and professional leaders,

living and/or employed in Branford, who work as volunteers on a

variety of local and international projects to improve the quality of life

in their home and world communities. For more information visit or call Tony at 203/481-6424.