What We Do

Step 1: Gathering Books

We give away about 11,000 books each year, nearly all of which are donated by Half Price Books and HEB Read 3. Our stock of used books is supplemented through book drives held at Chick-fil-A Southpark Meadows and Amy’s Ice Creams throughout Austin. If you have new or gently used children’s books you’d like to to donate, please drop us a line. Some books are very difficult to obtain through reclamation, so we use donated funds to purchase dual-language (Spanish – English) and early readers’ science books.

We also have had books donated by the authors including these from Mary D. Wade.

Step 2: Sorting Books

A critical part of our mission is to give kids books that age appropriate and within the skill range. Sorting our inventory allows us to meet that need and produce the greatest possible benefit to our young readers. Spanish or dual-language books are sorted separately to focus them to the students that will need them. Non-Fiction books are set aside and sorted for the Summer Book Bags distribution to provide a learning boost during the critical summer school break.

Essay: Why Science Books for First Graders

Step 3: Cleaning Used Books

Our cleaning team checks each book, eliminating any that have missing pages or in poor condition. Next, any price tags are removed, covers cleaned, minor repairs if needed and any markings are covered. A sticker is applied to the inside front cover with a place for the student to write their name. The outcome is a book that a student can proudly own.

Fall & Spring Distributions

In the week before the Thanksgiving and Spring Break each year, we distribute boxes of books to each classroom. These books are primarily fiction to encourage kids to have fun reading at home. We make sure to supply more than enough books to each teacher so every child has at least 2 books they will own.

Summer Book Bags

It is very typical for students a schools with a large percentage of Title 1 students (receive free or subsidized lunches) to have an erosion of reading skills during the long summer break. Our “Summer Book Bag Distribution” is focused at overcoming this empty learning time with fun books to read, science learning with books and graphic arts. Most of the students are eager to read, learn new things about their world and used their imagination with coloring. Keeping them active with reading, learning and using their minds helps overcome the skill erosion.
The students come to our setup area with their teacher and classmates. They are supplied with a book bag and then get to shop for 4 fiction books, 2 science books, a coloring book and either crayons or colored map pencils. We also have a table for them to browse for extra items such as bookmarks, posters and pamphlets. Each student takes home a good full bag of educational content to fuel their summer of learning.

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