Our Mission & Values

Our mission is to level the literacy playing field for K-8 students living in poverty by providing high quality, high-interest, culturally relevant books, and a transformed school library space that invites students to spend time and read.

We provide books to low-income schools where at least 80 percent of students live at or below the poverty line. Most students at the schools we serve are children of color and children of immigrants. Since 1999, Access Books in Southern California has donated more than a million books, and each year, approximately 18,000 pre-kindergarten through middle school-aged children participate in our program. Access Books Bay Area is now bringing this important work to the schools of the San Francisco Bay Area.

So many low-income children never leave the five block radius of their home. Books can give them another world.

“Give a child a book and she’ll be happy. Give a child a library and she’ll be literate.”

– Rebecca Constantino, founder of Access Books in Los Angeles

Literacy is a fundamental right

We believe that all children, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status, have the right to an educational environment that fosters a love of reading. Study after study has shown that students who read more do better. And not just academically, but in life. This benefit should not be reserved only for the children of the affluent and well-educated.

School libraries matter

In schools with high quality, well-stocked school libraries, children do better. Yet California provides no dedicated funding for school libraries. This is a crisis in low-income communities especially. We believe that every child has the right to have access to a high quality school library space and collection that will help foster their love of reading.

Diversity & representation matter

When the books in a school library do not reflect the lives and reality of the students at the school, or are full of outdated information and harmful stereotypes, children are not inspired to read. We believe that every child has the right to see themselves in the books they read, as well as to become inspired, and gain empathy walking in the shoes of others.