Book Boxes for Schools Impacted by COVID
With schools still closed and the pandemic raging across the Bay Area, and especially in the poorest neighborhoods where we do most of our work, school libraries are often unable to lend books to students, and when they can, it is only intermittently. Access Books Bay Area’s newest program aims to bring the school library outside of the school and provide contactless book access in the form of little free library book boxes, stocked with high quality, culturally relevant, engaging books for elementary students, accessible 24/7. In cooperation with the schools we work with, the boxes are located on school campuses, stocked with books, and the school is provided with extra books for restocking.
Would you like to help?
Individuals interested in getting involved with this program participate in a variety of ways, including donating to provide funds to purchase high quality books, building the boxes in their homes, painting the boxes, running book drives to collect gently used books, and purchasing low-cost new books from our wishlist at books4schools.com.
Share your love of reading, while giving back to the community. This is a great project for families, including families with young children!
Run a book drive for Access Books Bay Area by collecting books and donations from relatives, classmates, neighbors, and community members. By doing so, you will contribute to Access Books Bay Area’s mission to bring engaging, high interest books to children who need them most. Students in the communities we serve do not have good access to new and inviting books, especially as compared to their peers in more affluent communities. During this time of distance learning, Access Books Bay Area has developed ways to bring books to these students in under-served communities. These kids want more books! You can help by conducting a book drive.
Staff at Access Books Bay Area will guide you through the process. This is a great project for families. An adult or teen is needed to supervise, but there is lots of opportunity for children to be very active in this project.
- Create materials to announce and advertise their book drive to family, friends, neighbors, community members, etc.
- Share these materials by posting to online or offline communities you are part of.
- Collect the books and monetary donations over a period of a few weeks (this is your ‘Book Drive’).
- Deliver the books you have collected to one of our locations in the SF Bay Area.
Children can be involved at every step of the process, including making a sign, sharing it, gathering the donations, and delivering the books to us. We will provide guidance, including specifics for your communications, descriptions of types of books we are seeking, wishlists for donors who would rather purchase books, etc. Your child can even make their own ‘favorite books’ wishlist to share with donors, with the aim of sharing their favorite books with other kids. You can read about a book drive example here: https://www.accessbooksbayarea.org/ayaans-book-drive/
School Library Refurbishments
Prior to COVID closing down public schools, this was our primary program offering. Access Books Bay Area works with individual schools serving 80% or more students living at or below the poverty line as determined by Title I funding to improve their school library collections. We know that a quality school library full of engaging, beautiful, diverse books will inspire children to spend time and read, and that reading is the gateway to academic success.
COVID Response Book Giveaways
Our first thought when public libraries and school libraries shut down at the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 was, “oh no! The kids who need them most don’t have any books to read now!” We knew that this was just going to exacerbate already existing academic inequities. We began giving away books directly to students, in bundles of three books each, at meal distribution sites serving families living in poverty in some of the hardest hit areas of the region. Book giveaways continued into the summer, partnering with Environmental Volunteers to add more science and nature books to our giveaways and with the help of their volunteers. And in December of 2020 we gave away over 800 gift books to children in partnership with Sacred Heart Community Service as part of their holiday gift giveaways to families in need.
As the pandemic rages on in 2021 across the Bay Area, we will continue to find partners and distribution sites to get books into the hands of children. You can help by purchasing books from our wishlist, volunteering, or making a direct donation.