MCLEAN, Va. - A new children's library has opened in Memphis, TN as the result of a collaboration between Homewood Suites by Hilton and early childhood education nonprofit The Books for Kids Foundation. The new Homewood Suites Books for Kids Library at the Hanley Head Start Center, located at 2635 Spottswood Avenue, will ensure that all of the more than 200 at-risk preschoolers served by the center will have access to brand new books, reading programs and other educational tools that serve as key building blocks for early literacy skills. 

Joined by Dottie Jones, divisional director of community Services for Shelby County, Jeremy Jordan, a representative from U.S. Congressman's Steve Cohen's office, and Bill Duncan, global head of brand management for Homewood Suites by Hilton, Duncan's son Christian read to a group of 15 children, selecting the latest book from Homewood's "Lewis the Duck" children's book series, Lewis The Duck Lends a Helping Wing.  Authored by Duncan and his son Christian, the fourth edition of the series centers on the theme of giving back to one's community, which is central to Homewood's corporate culture and the driving force behind the brand's collaboration with Books for Kids and company-wide commitment to local reading programs.

"Sadly, in Memphis only 43.9 percent of third-graders scored 'proficient or above' in reading in 2011*," noted Duncan.  "Opening our second library in Memphis in collaboration with Books for Kids shines the spotlight on the critical issue of childhood literacy and the great need for education resources among those who have the least."

The Homewood Suites brand team worked closely with the center and Books for Kids teams on the renovation of the space, which was previously a somewhat neglected storage room.  Suites team members from the corporate headquarters and three Memphis area properties worked for weeks to prepare the room, assemble bookshelves, stock new books and put the finishing touches on the library. 

The Hanley Head Start Center serves at-risk preschoolers, 95 percent of whom are classified as below federal poverty guidelines.  The Head Start program began in the Orange Mound area in 1985. It has since grown to serve a diverse community of nearly 200 students from the immediate neighborhood.

"We are hopeful that our Memphis Books for Kids libraries will help the Tennessee Department of Education reach their goal of ensuring 60 percent of all Tennessee third-graders read at a proficient level or above by 2014*," added Duncan.  "The Homewood Suites family is proud to be making an impact in our Memphis community and other cities across the country, providing much-needed resources to at-risk children and their families."

The Memphis opening is the fifth in a series of Books for Kids libraries that Homewood Suites will open over the next several years, as the upscale, extended stay hotel brand helps the New York-based literacy advocacy expand nationally.  The first four libraries opened in Memphis, Tenn. (July 2010), Washington, DC (September 2010), Irving, Texas (July 2011) and Phoenix, AZ (September 2011).  With each open library, hundreds of children are being provided access to resources and opportunities previously unavailable, furthering Homewood Suites' mission to improve literacy amongst youth and impact the communities where Homewood properties are located.

*According to a recent children's literacy editorial story in The Commercial Appeal

About Books for Kids
To date, Books for Kids has opened more than 70 libraries stocking approximately 25,000 books and giving away another 5 million.  The organization's mission is to provide the resources preschool-aged children and their families need to build a solid foundation for learning and competing academically with their peers.  For more information visit www.booksforkids.org

About Homewood Suites by Hilton
Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hilton’s upscale, all-suite, extended-stay hotel brand with more than 435 locations in the United States, Mexico and Canada, is an award-winning leader. The first choice for guests seeking comfortable accommodations when traveling for an extended or quick overnight stay, Homewood Suites offers inviting, generous suites, featuring separate living and sleeping areas, and fully-equipped kitchens with full-size refrigerators. Additional value-driven essentials include: complimentary Internet, a daily full-hot breakfast and complimentary evening social every Monday-Thursday. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, free standard Wi-Fi and digital amenities like digital check-in with room selection and Digital Key (select locations) available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Homewood Suites is focused on guest satisfaction and stands behind each stay with its 100% Suite Assurance® guarantee. For more information on the extended-stay advantage, visit www.homewoodsuites.com or news.homewoodsuites.com.

About Hilton
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,100 properties with nearly 838,000 rooms in 103 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company's portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.