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Kicking Off

January 25, 2012

We are thrilled to kick off our first book drive of the year at Fred A. Olds Elementary in Raleigh, NC on January 24. We are partnering with Olds to build home libraries for students who do not have books at home and to create an open bookshelf so that all students can borrow a book whenever and for as long as they would like. We want to be able to give each qualifying student 12 books, and we want gather as many books as possible because any extras will be taken to our next school. We are accepting donations of new or used books (in good condition) for ages 4-11, and we are accepting board books as well. There will be a special need for easy reader books and early chapter books (such as books in the Magic Treehouse series). If you live in the area and would like to donate books or help out, please contact us at or post a comment below.

​If you are new to this site, our mission is to build libraries at home for students who are behind in reading and who do not have books at home. Last year, we built home libraries for 120 students at a different school in Wake County.

There is abundant research showing that having books at home counteracts the “summer slide” and boosts academic success.

Some studies show that two-thirds of children living in poverty have no books at home. Yet access to print materials can significantly improve academic performance.

We aim to give each student that meets the criteria 12 books to take home. We set up books on shelves like a mini-bookstore at school. Students pick half of their own books, and their teachers pick the other half. We also let students with young siblings at home pick out board books to help their sisters and brothers gain a love of books. With this first bag of books to take home, we hope to make a lasting change in the lives of these children. They will become book owners, and they will have a stack of books to read and reread over the summer.

​The at-school bookshelf is another way to ensure that all students always have a book within reach. While school libraries are a great place to get books, there are a number of obstacles for many children that the bookshelf can overcome. First, many schools do not have library time every week, so students may have to obtain a pass and permission to go to the library. For students who are not avid readers or who are behind in schoolwork, these obstacles may be dispositive—and the library may be an intimidating place for students who are struggling or who do not have much experience with books. Second, in some school districts, students who have lost books before or have unpaid late fees lose library privileges permanently. In most schools, you can’t check out a book if you didn’t return your old one. Students who have been cut off cannot check out books. Third, in most schools, you cannot check out a book if someone is not there to check you out.

​The bookshelf, though, can be available all the time—before and after school, during lunch, throughout the day, or even over the summer. If it is placed in an easily accessible and visible location, like in the front hall of the school, it is not intimidating and doesn’t require a special pass. If students can take books out for as long as they want and without fearing late fees, they might be more apt to choose a longer book. If they finish before library day, they can take out another. The bookshelf concept also has opportunities for students to become active in suggesting books to each other and to contributing books from home on an ongoing basis.

​We are very excited to be partnering with the great group of volunteers and staff at Olds. We will post updates about our progress and more ways to get involved. If you do not live in the area and are interested in doing something like this at your school, please contact us at

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 4:47 PM

    That sounds like a great cause. Best of luck!

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