Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Children’s Book Project?

The Children’s Book Project is a nonprofit organization that provides under-resourced children and their shelters, schools, daycare, and community centers with free books and other resources. Since our beginning in January 1992, the Children’s Book Project has given almost 3 million free books to thousands of facilities serving tens of thousands of children throughout Northern California.

Why donate books?

Research shows that children who grow up with books have an easier time learning to read, and have better outcomes in literacy, numeracy, and technology. In addition, evidence shows that reading aloud to children actually helps their brain development. However, many children in the greater Bay Area do not have access to books of their own and attend schools and programs where books are in short supply. Encouraging reading is not enough when families do not have books.

What type of books do you collect?

We collect donations of new and gently used children’s books for children of all ages, from infants to teens. We also collect and distribute other resources that aid literacy, including magazines, dictionaries, posters, puzzles, games, CDs, and DVDs.

Where are the books collected?

Many of the books we distribute are donated at book drives at schools, businesses, and other institutions. We also receive books directly from authors, publishers, individuals, retailers, and community organizations. Many local businesses, such as bookstores and coffee shops, help us collect book donations by hosting one of our blue Book Bags on site.

What happens to collected books?

After the books are collected and brought to our Book Bank, volunteers and staff sort them according to subject matter and reading level. Teachers, caseworkers, and other community service providers come to our Book Bank and select free books for the under-resourced children and families they serve, many of whom have never owned a book.

What programs do you offer?

Our ongoing goal is to work with other organizations to encourage parents to read to their children. Through our Read Aloud Program we have distributed thousands of books to community service programs that actively promote reading aloud and need free children’s books to give to families who cannot afford them.

When did the Children’s Book Project begin?

The Children’s Book Project began in 1992 with a book drive at Rooftop Elementary School in San Francisco. Parents were asked to donate their children’s outgrown books. Over 1,400 books were collected and given to facilities that needed them. By that year’s end, the Children’s Book Project (originally known as Second Reading) was a demonstrated success — 3,000 books had been collected and distributed. We currently give away well over 150,000 carefully selected, free children’s books every year.

Who is on your staff?

The Children’s Book Project is run by part-time staff members and an active, volunteer Board of Directors. We rely on dedicated volunteers to count and sort donated books, organize book drives, and perform other crucial tasks.

How do you obtain funding?

We are grateful for the generous support of private foundations, charitable trusts, the corporate sector, and our many individual donors.