2018 Annual Report


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A Letter from our founder, Amanda Collins

 Access Books Bay Area was founded three years ago with the belief that school libraries matter, especially for children living in poverty. A high quality school library program has a lasting academic impact on students, and can even mitigate for the effects of poverty. Over the last three years, what began as a relatively simple mission to restock school libraries and beautify school library facilities in high poverty schools, has grown and developed in the face of the circumstances we have encountered at schools around the Bay Area, where lack of regular staffing has played as large a role in the neglect of school libraries as has the lack of funding for new books. 


In 2018, Access Books Bay Area’s work in schools in the Ravenswood School District of East Palo Alto and the Alum Rock School District of East San Jose included hundreds of beautiful new books for the libraries, new reading furniture, and colorful and engaging murals, but it also included many more volunteer hours and the expertise of our trained librarian to help struggling schools to create a more effective library space and program through weeding of the existing collection, help recruiting parent volunteers to help maintain the library space, and help organizing the collection to make the library more accessible for students. 


With your support, we look forward to serving even more schools in 2019, and expanding our reach to other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as to continuing to innovate to better meet the needs of school libraries!


Amanda Collins

Executive Director and Founder 


  • Access to high quality pleasure reading materials should not be limited to children of affluent families.
  • Reading for pleasure regularly is the single most important predictor of future academic success.
  • An improved school library collection, with new and interesting books, can make the difference for a child who had no other access to books at home or otherwise. 
  • School libraries that are welcoming, colorful, comfortable spaces can not only encourage reading, but can become hubs of learning and culture at their schools. 


Collection maintenance, coaching in parent volunteer recruitment and training, & new books for the library

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Mural painting & new comfortable reading furniture to encourage library use

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Partnering with local service organizations for book drives and volunteers to work alongside members of the school community 

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New, high interest books in the library encourages greater use of the library by both classes and individuals, and increases access to pleasure reading materials for all students


The support of our credentialed librarian allows understaffed school libraries to better manage their collection through weeding of old, out of date titles before the project, and helps to organize the collection for maximum impact after the project. 


Volunteers from local service organizations work alongside volunteers from the school communities we serve, creating new connections in the interest of literacy. Many school community volunteers become ongoing library helpers, and many service organization volunteers go on to volunteer on future projects once they see the impact they can make for communities in need.


Number of Schools Served Each Year 

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Number of Books Donated Each Year

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Dorsa Elementary

A school library in need 

Dorsa Elementary, located in East San Jose, serves 100% students who qualify for Title I funds, meaning that their families live at or below the poverty line. Their library had not received funding in decades, and the average age of their books was 25 years! To make matters worse, the library was only open every other week for four hours a day due to staffing shortage. 

We were able to help Dorsa to recruit parent volunteers to get the library open more often, cleaned out old out-of-date books, and our project not only added over 500 beautiful new books to the library, but also made the library brighter and more inviting. 

Meet: Viviana Garcia

Principal of Dorsa Elementary School

“I appreciate Access Books staffs’ intentionality in selecting current books, as well as books that are culturally relevant to Dorsa students.” 

Meet: Ravenswood MS

A new school library for a new middle school

Prior to 2018, Ravenswood school district had no middle school, and no school library for the middle school level. When the new middle school opened, they would have hand-me-down books from a few other sites where the libraries had closed. And while they had a fairly recent selection of popular fiction books, their nonfiction section was old and unattractive, their fiction section remained understocked, and they had only a handful of graphic novels. Additionally, the facility they were moving into had only basic shelving and a couple of tables. 

Access Books Bay Area was able to completely repaint the space, adding colorful new murals throughout, provided them with comfortable reading furniture appropriate for middle school students, helped weed their collection of old out-of-date books, restocked their nonfiction with attractive new titles, added to their fiction collection, and completely created a new graphic novels section.

Meet: Marsha Abbott

Volunteer at Ravenswood Middle School and partner organization All Schools Matter

“Access Books Bay Area’s Ravenswood Middle School Library renovation provided much needed, relevant reading material suitable to the abilities and interests of the RMS students. Volunteers, like myself,  for All Students Matter  work developing reading skills with students through 5th grade. Access to quality and current literature in their middle school library and classroom allows the students to continue practicing and developing their literacy skills.  Working and partnering towards a common goal really multiplies the impact we can make in this district.”



< $100

William H Abbott 

Judith Cook

Arsen Elkin

Susie Cohen

Asma Rabbani

Elizabeth Blair

Alexis Dineen

Julia Hallee

Jennifer Antonow

Michelle Higgins

Kristi McMichael

Stephanie Norton

Melissa Anderson

Sonia Bubar

Sandeep Mirchandani

Elizabeth Dougherty

$100 – $500

Jeanie Smith

Aaron VonderHaar

Kamal Ardeshna 

Lance Martin

Brian Sapp

Nicole Aron

Robyn Del Fierro

Susan Choquette 

William H Abbott 

Judith Cook

David and Trish Collins 

Addison Elementary Book  

Stuart and Amanda Collins

Susie Cohen

Elizabeth Blair

Alexis Dineen

Margie Cain

Missy Reller

Karin Kissane

Karen Han

Emily Scheinman

$500 – $1000

Arjun Prabhu

Victor and Viviana Garcia

Chris and Linda Forrester 

David Wohlwend

Jeanette Kennedy

$1000 – $5000

Doug and Diana Collins

Network for Good 

Heather & Carolyn Collins


Brian and Alison Guan 



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V I S I O N F O R 

2 0 2 0

In 2020 Access Books Bay Area would like to continue expanding our work, reaching the following goals:

  1. Complete one school project every two months during the school year, for a total of 4 projects
  2. Increase our visibility in the Bay Area community through outreach and media coverage
  3. Increase our donor pool and overall number of sustaining donors by 200%