We’re guessing that you love books as much as we do if you’re sitting there at your house (or, ahem, office), reading this blog. But have you ever considered volunteering with a local or national reading and literacy nonprofit group? There are dozens of amazing organizations supporting literacy and reading throughout the nation. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites—large and small—below.
First Book (http://www.firstbook.org/)
First Book delivers books to children in low-income families across the US and Canada. The Washington, DC-based organization has been supporting literacy for more than twenty years and has donated more than ninety million books to date. In fact, the organization coordinates more than 35,000 book donations per day. First Book has plenty of ways to get involved, including volunteering, advisory boards, donations, virtual book drives, and more.
World Book Night (http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/)
World Book Night is an international annual celebration of reading, held every year in the US, UK, and Ireland on April 23. Tens of thousands of volunteers work in their communities to hand out free paperbacks. The organization, run by representatives of some of the largest publishing companies in the world, designates a few dozen adult and middlegrade books each year (to see 2012’s picks, click here). You can join the group’s mailing list now to sign up to be a giver in 2013.
Reading is Fundamental (http://www.rif.org/)
Reading is Fundamental is the nation’s largest literacy nonprofit group. The organization maintains a list of 400,000 volunteers across America to help deliver books and literary resources to families and communities that need them the most. The group’s highest priority is children from birth through the age of eight. According to RIF, nearly two-thirds of low-income families own zero books. Help change that statistic by volunteering for or donating to Reading is Fundamental.
Family Reading Partnership (http://www.familyreading.org/)
The Family Reading Partnership is a great example of a community-focused literacy nonprofit. Based in Ithaca, NY, the Family Reading Partnership promotes early literacy and group family reading. They have a number of ongoing projects, including Books Before Birth, in which expecting parents receive children’s books at prenatal visits to their doctors, the Bright Red Bookshelf, a collection of gently used books for free throughout the community, a fun and free annual Kid’s Book Fest, and a Story Walk 1k for parents and kids. You can support this great organization through a donation.
Located here in Austin, TX, the Inside Books Project is an all-volunteer organization that sends free books and educational resources to men and women incarcerated in the Texas Prison System. The IBP is the only organization of its kind in our state and they receive more than eight-hundred requests for books from Texas prisoners each month. Volunteer nights are currently held every Thursday and Sunday at Space 12. You can check out their volunteer page for more information.
Hopefully these great organizations inspired you as much as they inspire us to dedicate some extra time to helping our local, national, and international communities. Let us know of any organizations you love to volunteer with in the comments below!