Librarian and student look at books

This winter, Kaylee Keane, a Grade 5 student at Marlboro Elementary School (MES) and an avid reader, made it her mission to help get more books into the hands of children throughout the community.

Kaylee, who started the Marlboro Faculty Association’s 1,000 Book Project as a Kindergarten student and completed it this past November, wanted to do something to inspire other families to participate in this unique challenge.             

Established in 1998, the 1,000 Book Project is a reading program designed to motivate children and their caregivers to read 1,000 books together. To participate, children can visit the Marlboro Free Library (MFL) or the Sarah Hull Hallock Free Library in Milton to begin borrowing pre-made bags, each of which contains ten books. Once they are finished reading, they return the books and check out another bag.

After wondering if enough families were taking advantage of this local opportunity, Kaylee began brainstorming ways to give the reading program a boost. She met with one of the program’s founders, Celeste Ricciardone, who inspired her to team up with her mother Kathy Keane, a Grade 6 teacher at Marlboro Middle School (MMS); MES Library Media Specialist Maureen Stalter; and MFL Children’s Librarian Taylor Beach; all of whom happily agreed to help Kaylee revamp the program.             

Since many of the books inside the libraries’ book bags were old and tattered, Kaylee decided to figure out a way to secure new books for each collection. This past January, with the approval of MES Principal Patricia Walsh and Marlboro Superintendent Michael Brooks, she launched a Giving Tree book drive with the slogan “New Year, New Books!”             

In addition to contributing 20 books that were purchased with money she had saved, Kaylee set up Giving Tree displays at both MES and MMS. With the help of Marlboro Grade 6 teacher Kate Plover, she also created an Amazon Wishlist Book Registry so that members of the community could log on and help give the gift of reading.             

News of the book drive spread quickly, and donations began pouring in from around the community. To date, the team has received more than 300 new books and has updated nearly 40 bags for the 1,000 Book Project.             

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity and support of our community members who believe in the benefits of the 1,000 Book Project and are helping to keep the program going with the purchases of these new books,” said Kathy Keane.             

Keane said that her daughter is especially grateful to her family members, Marlboro Board of Education member Patricia Benninger, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Personnel Roseanne Mele, the Marlboro Knights of Columbus, and the Lions Club for their generous donations.             

Although the book drive officially ended in late February, donations are still being accepted. Anyone interested in purchasing a book can visit the Book Registry or contact Kathy Keane at             

“We appreciate everyone who donated books to make this drive successful,” said Keane. “We hope these new books give children in our community the motivation to complete the 1000 Book Project!”             

Anyone interested in signing their child up for the 1,000 Book Project can do so by visiting the Marlboro Free Library or the Sarah Hull Hallock Free Library.