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Happy Ending

After 20 years in marketing and government, Laurie Flynn ’11GS became president and CEO of Link to Libraries, a nonprofit that promotes childhood literacy.

Laurie Flynn ’11GS says her love affair with the written word took on magical qualities as a sixth-grader growing up in Washington, D.C. It was then that the avowed bibliophile first read Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, in which the fictional heroine Scout Finch navigates racial depravity in the Deep South.

“Her voice captured me,” Flynn says. “I was about Scout’s age as I was reading the book, and she was such a brave, inspiring young woman. She was funny, strong, and quick. I loved everything about her.”

After a more-than two-decade career in marketing and government, Flynn decided to pen a new chapter in her professional life. In September, she became president and CEO of Link to Libraries (LTL), a nonprofit based in Hampden, MA, that promotes childhood literacy and donates books to 72 school libraries in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.

“We know that the more access children have to books, the more likely they are to read, and the more likely they are to read, the better their chances for success.” —President and CEO of Link to Libraries Laurie Flynn ’11GS

There’s urgency to the work. In Massachusetts, less than half of third-graders read at grade level, Flynn says. She hopes to ultimately expand the roster of schools, and create a writing component so students can tell their own stories.

“The studies show if you don’t read proficiently by the end of third grade, your chances of catching up are slim,” Flynn notes, adding that such students are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

“We know for a fact that the more access children have to books, the more likely they are to read, and the more likely they are to read, the better their chances for success in school and in life.”