Geneva Reads! – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Geneva Reads!

HWS students wasted no time getting involved in the Geneva Reads initiative founded just last year. Allison May ’11 developed the program’s logo as part of the “What Do You Stand For?” program and has created the Geneva Reads insignia that is being used on stamps and labels. The Hobart soccer team painted five bookshelves and the Colleges’ Rotaract Club, the student leadership organization affiliated with the Geneva’s Rotary Club, are helping to place the bookshelves in the community. 

The initiative promotes literacy and uses Ithaca’s Family Reading Partnership as a basis, then partners local schools and The Geneva Public Library, the Colleges, community agencies, and Geneva residents, “to raise the level of literacy in people of all ages and to increase the importance of reading and the reader in the community.”

Headed up by Michael Nyerges, director of the Geneva Public Library, Nina McCarthy, principal of North Street School, and Jane Gerling, coordinator of Geneva Head Start, the initiative entails donations of books to babies born at Geneva General Hospital; readings and talks by visiting authors and stocked “Bright Blue Bookshelves” placed around town.  The goal is to involve the entire community and, consequentially, increase literacy throughout.

The Bright Blue Bookshelves, modeled on the Bright Red Bookshelves used in Ithaca, are designed for patrons to take books from and either keep them or return them.  “The Ithaca Family Reading Partnership has been very helpful,” says Katie Flowers, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning.  “We’re lucky that they’re close by, and have benefited from their leadership and creative outreach efforts.”

Of the five bookshelves the soccer team painted, two are at the Child and Family Resource Center on Lewis Street, and the other three will soon be placed in the community.  A $1,000 grant from Geneva’s Rotary Club made the purchase of the books and bookshelves possible.  

The next Geneva Reads meeting will take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, in the common room of the Geneva Public Library.  All are invited to attend.  Please visit for more information.