Actress, Comedian & TV Host Sherri Shepherd and Chef & Restaurateur Melba Wilson Lead Celebrity Story Time for NYC School Children at New York Public Library’s Schwarzman Building

 The story time aims to encourage children to fall in love with public libraries, reading, and lifelong learning

Photos from the event available here

MARCH 1, 2023 – The New York Public Library on Wednesday hosted Celebrity Story Time with acclaimed actress, comedian and daytime television talk show host of Sherri, Sherri Shepherd and celebrity chef & restaurateur Melba Wilson, owner of Melba’s Restaurant in Harlem. The story time is part of NYPL’s ongoing efforts to promote reading and access to knowledge for young people, a mission that has become even more critical as we grapple with post-pandemic learning loss, isolation and other challenges brought on by COVID-19. 

Shepherd read Lost in the Library by Josh Funk to over four dozen students of the Harlem Village Academies school. The children were between the ages of 7 and 9. Many signed up for their first Library cards. (The NYPL’s Limited Edition Spiderman-themed cards were a popular choice.)

The story-telling event is the first of a series of events that NYPL is planning with Wilson, a community leader and lifelong lover of reading, to encourage young New Yorkers to visit and patronize public libraries. 

Prior to the story time, NYPL exhibitions educators gave the children a guided tour of the Polonsky Exhibition of the Library’s Treasures, which includes the stuffed animals that inspired the children’s classic Winnie-the-Pooh, clay cuneiform tablets that demonstrate ancient school records, a copy of the Library’s most frequently borrowed book The Snowy Day, and other highlights from the Library’s extensive collections. The NYPL’s Center for Educators and Schools proudly offers free field trips to the Polonsky Exhibition for students in 2nd through 12th grade. 

“The past few years have brought incredible challenges to our city, and we are thrilled to once again host in-person events that inspire life-long learning and the love of reading for young people. We know that the pandemic has been particularly difficult for our youngest New Yorkers, and we also know that libraries can and should be seen as part of the solution to help battle everything from isolation to learning loss. Libraries are for everyone, including and especially children and teenagers. We would like to thank our partners in putting together this wonderful event, Melba Wilson, Sherri Shepherd, and our friends and long-time benefactors at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation,” said Brian Bannon, the New York Public Library’s Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education

“As a child growing up in Harlem I loved visiting my local library; it was a place that allowed me to find and develop my interests, learn new things, expand my imagination and understand the world around me. The enthusiasm and excitement of the students at Harlem Village Academies at today's event with Emmy Award-winning television host and actress Sherri Shepherd at The New York Public Library was irresistible. It was a delight to see my love of books reflected in the next generation of readers,” said Melba Wilson.   

“I am so excited to introduce The New York Public Library to the students of Harlem Village Academies. We know the pandemic has been incredibly challenging for kids and the Library is a wonderful space for them to learn, be with friends, and explore the exciting world of books!  I hope today's visit will start a lifelong appreciation. I had such a wonderful time sharing my love of reading that I now have my very own Library card,” said Sherri Shepherd


About The New York Public Library

For over 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With over 90 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at 


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