One for the Books

A win for words at the John B. Kelly school

The library at the John B. Kelly (JBK) school in Germantown could’ve been just another casualty in the School District’s war on sensible spending. But Joan “Penny” Colgan-Davis and a dedicated team of volunteers refused to let the lights go out on such an important community resource. It took years but they brought the library back to life from its low point in 2015. Penny and her crew cleaned out the space, weeded out damaged and outdated books, purchased new ones, organized special events, and most importantly – provided a warm and welcoming place for students and staff.

Sadly, Penny passed away in June of last year but the work she and the volunteers started in 2015 continues. To recognize Penny’s leadership, a new space in the library was dedicated last month to her memory. More than 60 guests attended the event, including other local volunteer libraries and organizations. They shared stories about Penny and took pride that they continue to fight for the future of students throughout the city – a future that is often brighter because of books.

Scenes from dedication ceremony, Oct 2019

Helping Hands Needed

Looking for a good cause? The JBK volunteers could use your help. Their library program runs weekday mornings Monday through Thursday and they offer volunteers a flexible schedule, (usually one morning a week each). Their program also includes a weekly Friday “Reading Buddies” session and a Student Volunteer Group, in which volunteers can mentor upper-class students.

Other opportunities:

  • Reading to a class.
  • Choosing books.
  • Reading to individual students.
  • Checking out, filing and repairing books.
  • Helping with special events.

Even a little help can go a long way! To learn more, contact Ms. Corinne Brady at (914) 715-6089 or



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