Children’s Library Opens in Independence House

CCB MEDIA PHOTO The Manya Kanof Library for children affected by domestic violence was dedicated Tuesday at Independence House in Hyannis.

The Manya Kanof Library for children affected by domestic violence was dedicated Tuesday at Independence House in Hyannis.

HYANNIS – A new children’s library for those affected by domestic violence has opened in Hyannis.

The Manya Kanof Gussack Library which is located in Independence House was dedicated Tuesday.

The library is the 54th to be opened in domestic violence shelters across the country as part of the Jewish Women International National Library Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to establish 100 children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters across the country.

The library includes multiple shelves full of brand new books, two computers, a printer, desks activity tables and other educational tools.

“The whole focus of the room was really just to try to make it a really safe, welcoming, cool space that kids really want to be in and enjoy,” said Donna Giberti, the director of marketing & development for Independence House.

The project turned an old daycare room into a quiet space for children to spend time while their parents are receiving services at Independence House.

“The best I could compare it to would be a daycare room from the 1950s,” Giberti said. “It was pretty run down.”

Giberti said there over 50 volunteer hours into putting together the new library.

Several members of the Gussack family, which made generous donations toward the creation of the library, were on hand for the dedication in their mother’s memory.

“She loved reading,” said Nina Gussack, one of Manya’s five children. “She passed that reading bug to her kids. It was an infection that permeated all of us.”

Lori Weinstein, the CEO of Jewish Women International, said the room will embrace Manya’s spirit.

“That it is always in this room bringing love and laughter and joy to the children who are using the library, who find the safe space here, who can sit and do homework quietly, maybe for the first time in their life,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said people take for granted what reading can be.

“Reading happens at a quiet time, at a safe time, at a joyful time, at a peaceful time. That’s what reading to your child is all about,” she said. “And if you don’t have that in your life then you haven’t developed a habit of reading to your kids.”

Weinstein said the goal of the library is to develop, encourage and support habits that will continue way beyond the time a mother and child are at Independence House.

“For these children what they come and get to experience are things that are brand new, brand new computers, brand new books, brand new book cases,” she said. “That says something to them. Lifts them up. Builds their sense of self-esteem.”

Weinstein said the library encourages re-stocking of books so children can take books with them.

Those looking to make donations to the new library can contact Donna Giberti at Independence House at 508-771-6507 extension 221.

Independence House serves over 5,000 families each year and is the Cape’s leading resource, counseling and advocacy center to address and prevent domestic and sexual violence.


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