Project Cicero is a partnership of independent, public, and parochial schools, private and public organizations and corporations whose primary goal is to create and supplement classroom libraries for children in under-resourced New York City public schools through an annual citywide book drive. Project Cicero also puts books into homeless shelters, juvenile detention facilities, community centers, pre and after school programs, and wherever else there is a need. This past year, its thirteenth year of operation, Project Cicero distributed more than 150,000 books. To date, Project Cicero has placed two million books into more than 11,000 classrooms and school libraries reaching over 500,000 children in under-resourced schools in New York City.

Executive Committee:

  • Laureine Greenbaum, Susan Robbins, co-chairs
  • Lynn Abraham, Sabrina Allan, Jennifer Backer, Rona Berg, Andrea Labov Clark, Roz Edelman, Susan Fisher, Linda Gelfond, JoAnn Goodspeed, Penny Gorman, Teddi Hunter, Ellen Hay Newman, Stephanie Peraffan, Christy Porter, Laura Puopolo, Cynthia Rothman, Mathilde Sanson, Amy Schrader, Carrie Silberman, Jennifer Wendy
  • Silda Wall, Co-Chair Emeritus

Advisory Committee:

  • Taina Borrero, Juliet Kaye, Teach For America, New York; Emily Ershowsky, New York Post; Jennifer Hanley-Leonard, New York City Teaching Fellows; Sara Holliday, Randi Levy, New York Society Library.

Student Co-chairs:

  • Henry Allman, Philip Clark, Scott Ellenoff, Vincent Monti, Jimmy Peraffan, Sam Puopolo, Emily Shah, Arielle Silver


  • Laureine Greenbaum, Susan Robbins, Silda Wall, Fawn White


  • The New York Society Library* Founded in 1754, the NYSL is the oldest Library in New York and is open to all for reading and reference with circulation by subscription. The Library is committed to literacy and has public school-based education and community outreach programs in New York City.
  • Vornado Realty Trust* provides the Distribution Center as well as book boxes and extensive storage facilities.
  • Teach For America New York Teach For America is leading the effort to end educational inequity by providing a pipeline of teachers, leaders, and lifetime activists who, in collaboration with our district partners, are ensuring educational excellence and equality for all children. Today, more than 500 corps members are teaching in low-income communities throughout New York. They are joined by nearly 3,000 alumni who, shaped by their corps experience, are working across all sectors to effect the fundamental changes necessary to achieve educational opportunity for all.
  • New York City Teaching Fellows New York City Teaching Fellows works to recruit and prepare high-quality, dedicated individuals to become teachers who raise student achievement in the New York City classrooms that need them most.
  • New York Post provides book and box transportation.

*founding partners, with Children for Children Foundation, now part of generationOn.

Project Cicero collects new and gently used books for children and young adults. Books must be in new or excellent condition. We need early readers through high school fiction and all non-fiction (including reference books, biographies, science and math), both hardcover and paperback. Picture books are also welcome. Reference materials should be current. Project Cicero does not accept discards from school libraries, textbooks or books for adults.

Books are donated by families, individuals and publishers. Primarily, Project Cicero receives books from families with children in New York City independent, public and parochial schools. In our most recent collection, families from 100 schools collected books.

All of the collected books are transported to the distribution center where hundreds of student, parent and teacher volunteers unpack, sort, and display the books. Teachers affiliated with Project Cicero partner organizations or teachers at under-resourced schools register to attend the annual distribution.

Project Cicero encourages children to help children. Hundreds of students have helped to make Project Cicero a success. Student coordinators at each of the participating schools aided by parents and faculty, organize and advertise the collection of the books. More than 100 independent, public and parochial schools collect books each year. Students are also involved in the set up and distribution of the books. Students may receive community service recognition for their participation.

If your school is not involved, and you would like it to be, call Project Cicero at (212) 288-6900 x511 or e-mail info@ProjectCicero.org. Each participating school is asked to appoint one or more students, parents and faculty members to coordinate the drive. Representatives are invited to a reception in January at The New York Society Library, 53 East 79th Street. There, they receive information and flyers and meet representatives from other schools.