Worldwide list of reading/literacy charities 2012

posted in: 2. Illustrators and Authors | 53

Every year I update my list of book charities – charities which in some way are involved with books, reading and literacy. Today I bring you the most recent version of this list. I hope you’ll browse the list, choose a charity which appeals to you and share some goodwill at this time of year.

For NEXT YEAR (!) I would like to make this well of information more user friendly and easier to search. For every comment on this post with advice/suggestions on how I should go about this (eg best key search terms to use, end format of database, how to create an online searchable database, what you’d like to see from a literacy charity database…) I’ll donate 50p (up to a total of £25) to the chosen literacy/reading charity (anywhere in the world, as long as donations are possible online) of whoever makes (to my mind) the most helpful comment about how I should develop this resource.

Now down to the nitty-gritty. This list contains 125 charities, voluntary organizations and not-for-profits working all over the world. Some need funding, others are looking for used and/or new books, whilst others would just love it if you could donate some of your time. Not all organisations listed here are technically charities – some are simply voluntary schemes run by individuals, or even businesses run on a not-for-profit basis, but I’ve included them here as they too are doing great work. If you’re looking for somewhere to start I’ve highlighted my favourite organizations in blue.

If you do not wish to browse the entire list please click immediately below for charities operating in a given region:
International | UK | Australia | US | Canada | Africa | India | Other

Boring but sensible comment
Please note that whilst it would be great if one of these charities benefited from inclusion in this list, the charity’s presence here should not be taken to imply any particular recommendation by me. As with any charitable giving it’s a good idea to check the charity out for yourself.

The Charity Commission Register holds comprehensive information about every registered charity in England and Wales. The Office of the Scottish Charities Register includes a comprehensive range of information about the activities and charitable purposes of Scotland’s charities. This part of the IRS site does something similar for US charities and non profit organizations.

International book charities (ie those working in multiple countries)

  • IBBY – The International Board on Books for Young People
    The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. As well as supporting the general organization you can also donate to specific projects around the world through their Children in Crisis Fund.

  • LitWorld
    LitWorld works to cultivate literacy leaders worldwide through transformational literacy experiences that build connection, understanding, resilience and strength. LitWorld joins together with teachers, parents, community members, and children to support the development of sustainable literacy practices across the world. One of their main activities is World Read Aloud Day.

  • The Book Bus
    The Book Bus believes that every child should have the opportunity to discover the hidden treasures that books contain. Our aim is to reveal the value of literacy by instilling a lifelong love of reading in young children. Using the spoken word, artwork, puppet-making and a host of other media, our volunteers bring to life the worlds within storybooks. The Book Bus provides a mobile service and actively promotes literacy to underprivileged communities in Zambia and Ecuador. The legacy of each Book Bus visit is a reading corner and bookshelves stocked with children’s books.
  • Book Aid International
    Book Aid International increases access to books to support literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa, Palestine and Sri Lanka.
  • ProLiteracy
    ProLiteracy champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies.
  • Tracy McGrady Foundation
    The Tracy McGrady Foundation has supported various programs over the years that enhance the lives of children and enrich their learning process, particularly by renovating libraries and media centre.

  • GBA Ships
    The ships visit each port for several weeks each and open the gangways to hundreds and sometimes thousands of visitors each day. On average, over one million visitors have been welcomed on board every year! The floating book fairs offer over 7,000 titles, providing many visitors their first-ever opportunity to purchase a wide range of quality literature.
  • Bookshare
    Bookshare’s goal is to make the world of print accessible to people in the UK and US with disabilities. You can find out more from the Bookshare blog.
  • Little Free Library
    Little Free Library’s missions are: To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide, to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations, and to build more than 2,510 libraries around the world–more than Andrew Carnegie!

  • Books Abroad
    Books Abroad believes that, in the long term, education is what is required to help solve the worlds problems. With the power to read and write, the children of today will have a better understanding of the issues surrounding them.
  • Spirit of Paper Tigers Project
    The Spirit of Paper Tigers Project works to donate a selection of books which reflect the aims of PaperTigers to schools and libraries in different parts of the world, focusing mostly, though not exclusively, on areas of need.
  • Set of school textbooks from Save the Children
    Schools all over the world are often poorly equipped so parents are expected to provide their children with text books. If they can’t afford to buy them then their children can’t go to school. It doesn’t have to be like that. By buying this gift for a friend, you’ll be giving a child a set of textbooks for the year. A good education is the key to a brighter future.
  • A book and reading lessons from Musthave Gifts
    Pakistan: After a hard day working, children often visit the drop-in centre. Books may be the only escape they have. Giving the gift of a book and reading lessons will open a whole new world and a window to a better life.
  • Room to Read
    Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
  • Borderline Books
    Borderline Books collects books that would otherwise be destroyed, and redistributes them to organizations working with the homeless, asylum applicants and refugees, survivors of trafficking or domestic violence. We have projects in the Netherlands and the UK.
  • Book charities in the UK

  • Give a Book
    Give a Book sources new books at cost price through our partner, Daunt Books; we put a personalised bookplate into each book, then package and post the books to our selected charities. Every donation you make buys and distributes a book to someone who – for differing reasons – might need one.

  • Quaker Mobile Library, London
    The Quaker Mobile Library is an innovative library service in London that provides books to borrow for people who would otherwise be unable to take books out of the library, due to having ‘no fixed abode’. The Quaker Mobile Library is always looking for more volunteers, especially drivers.
  • Books for Free
    The “Books for Free” initiative rescues unwanted books otherwise destined for landfill or pulping. Healthy Planet redistributes these books – for free – throughout communities via our stores nationwide. By visiting the stores and taking a book, you are reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill each year and helping to recycle valuable resources. Shops in Basildon, Carmarthen, Southampton and Shepherds Bush.

  • Adopt a Word
    Adopt a word and the money raised goes to helping children with communication difficulties.

  • Adopt a book at the British Library
    Adopt a Book supports the British Library’s conservation team, helping them preserve the world’s knowledge for future generations.
  • Great Little Libraries
    Great Little Libraries is a Scottish charity which raises money to put books in primary schools in disadvantaged parts of Scotland.

  • Federation of Children’s Book Groups
    The Federation is an umbrella organisation for local Children’s Book Groups around the U.K. Local groups organise book-related activities for children in their localities, whilst nationally the organisation producedregular Newsletters and specialist booklists and organises National Share-a-Story Month, an Annual Conference, as well as owning and coordinating the Red House Children’s Book Award.

  • The Reading Agency
    The Reading Agency is an independent charity with a mission to inspire more people to read more. It is the UK’s leading development agency specialising in spreading reading through libraries. It also reaches readers through broadcasters, publishers, workplaces, schools, prisons and youth services.
  • Book Relief UK
    Our mission is the promotion of higher literacy standards – in both the UK and in developing countries – through the active support of literacy advancement projects – and by working with or partnering with – other specialist organisations in this field, both here and overseas, as appropriate.

  • Bolton Literacy Trust
    Aims to improve literacy in the Bolton area with all sorts of classes and activities for local residents.
  • The Children’s Book Tree
    The Children’s Book Tree works to give Edinburgh children (children in care and residential homes, children living in refuges or otherwise affected by domestic violence and young carers) the gift of books for Christmas. Customers in Blackwell’s Bookshop in Edinburgh bought new books as gifts based on the children’s own wishes and preferences.
  • Storybook Dads
    To help imprisoned parents throughout the UK to maintain meaningful contact with their children, by recording them reading stories for their children, thereby reducing re-offending and improving outcomes for parent and child. They also run a similar scheme in women’s prisons, Storybook Mums.

  • Craigmillar Books for Babies
    Craigmillar Books for Babies is a multi-agency Edinburgh based project which aims to encourage and support parents and carers to share books, stories and rhymes with their babies and to promote reading as a relevant and worthwhile source of pleasure which enhances children’s early development.
  • Scottish Book Trust
    Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. Amongst other activities, every year Scottish Book Trust invests £3 million per year to inspire and encourage readers and writers in Scotland, funds over 1,200 literature events connecting 50,000 readers with writers through Live Literature funding and reaches every baby in Scotland through its Bookbug book gifting programme.
  • Booktrust
    Booktrust is an independent UK-wide charity dedicated to encouraging people of all ages and cultures to enjoy books. Booktrust runs bookgifting schemes including Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up, as well as other projects and programmes such as Children’s Book Week, the Children’s Laureate, book awards and many more.
  • The Book Trade Charity
    The book trade charity, is the trade’s own welfare charity. It is often the most appropriate channel through which assistance and support can be given to those members of the trade who find themselves in difficult circumstances.
  • Listening Books
    We are a UK charity providing a fantastic selection of high-quality audiobooks to over 7000 people across the UK who find it difficult or impossible to read due to illness or disability.
  • Volunteer Reading Help
    The VRH formula is very simple. We bring together children who need support and adults with patience, time to give and a love of reading and learning. We train the adults for their task, resource them with books and game boxes and support them throughout their volunteering with us. Everyone gains – the child and the reading helpers. And many of the children we help develop a life-long love of books too.
  • Literacy Volunteers
    Literacy Volunteers is a Nottinghamshire based charity that enriches young people’s lives by assisting with their literacy, communication and social skills. We work in partnership with schools by providing trained and supported Volunteers who make reading and communicating enjoyable to those at risk of disengaging from education.
  • Readathon
    Readathon is a charity that runs the UK’s biggest sponsored reading campaign. It provides a stimulating focus for recreational reading and raises money for seriously ill children.
  • Readwell
    ReadWell brings the therapeutic power of books and storytelling to children in hospital

  • Bag Books
    Bag Books is the only organisation in the world publishing multi-sensory stories for people with profound learning disabilities. Each year we reach around 15,000 children and adults with learning disabilities.
  • Dorset Reading Partners
    Dorset Reading Partners recruits and trains volunteers to work in local primary schools, helping children with their reading development. Our reading partners work one to one with children in half hour sessions away from the classroom. They talk, share books and play games in order to increase the child’s confidence and motivation, as well as their communication and literacy skills.
  • Outside In
    A UK charity that supports and promotes the publication of children’s books in translation from around the world. You can read an interview with Edgardo Zaghini from Outside In here.
  • National Literacy Trust
    The National Literacy Trust is an independent charity that changes lives through literacy. We campaign to improve public understanding of the vital importance and impact of literacy on all our lives.
  • Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books
    Seven Stories celebrates the wonderful world of children’s books with exhibitions, events and our nationally important collection of modern and contemporary children’s literature.
    A donation helps us promote reading for pleasure for all ages through accessibility, involvement, learning, and the enjoyment of children’s books.
  • Book Cycle
    Book-Cycle is a registered charity based in Exeter, England. We collect unwanted books and trees, and house them in one of our “free”bookshops.” Here you are invited to choose up to three books per person per day and pay whatever you wish! After minimal running costs, half the proceeds send relevant literature to developing countries, while the other half goes to planting trees around Britain.
  • Living Paintings
    Thousands of specially adapted books and packs are available to blind and partially sighted children, young people and adults; their families, schools and carers. The Living Paintings’lLibrary delivers via the post to members across Britain and Ireland.

  • Calibre Audio Library
    Calibre Audio Library is a national charity providing a subscription-free postal service of unabridged audio books for adults and children with sight problems, dyslexia and other disabilities, who cannot read print.

  • Read International
    We are a network of regional student-volunteer-led projects collecting disused books from schools across the UK. We sort them, match them to the Tanzanian/Ugandan syllabus and, if relevant, we send them to East Africa. Any book not relevant to send (we don’t take religious/political books for example) is sold online to generate much needed funding. If it can’t be sent or sold, we recycle it, generating more funding. It’s a simple process. COLLECT, SORT, GENERATE, DISTRIBUTE, RECYCLE. But then, after we’ve collected the books from the UK schools we even deliver a free workshop to educate school children about global citizenship and sustainability.
  • Book charities in Australia

  • Charity book sales in New South Wales, Australia
    Listing of local book sales to benefit charity
  • The Indigenous Literacy Project
    The Indigenous Literacy Project (ILP) aims to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions. This is done by providing books and literacy resources to Indigenous communities and raising broad community awareness of Indigenous literacy issues.
  • Wall of Hands Indigenous Literacy Appeal – The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation
    The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) is working with Indigenous communities and schools around Australia with the aim that 5 out of 5 kids will learn to read – the vital first step to a satisfying and successful life.
  • Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library
    Our vision is to empower homeless and disadvantaged people through books. The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library achieves this vision by delivering a regular supply of books to homeless and disadvantaged people living in hostels and on the streets, and through community organizations. Currently we operate in Sydney and Melbourne
  • Dymocks Children’s Charities
    Dymocks Children’s Charities (formerly known as Dymocks Literacy Foundation) is proud to be the Principal Partner for the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge which provides all school children across the state the opportunity to engage in this challenge and broaden their depth and breadth of reading materials.
  • The Little Big Book Club
    The Big Book Club Inc. is a not for profit arts organisation committed to the promotion of reading, literature and Australian authors and illustrators.
  • Mary Mead – At Home With Books
    At Home With Books encourages parents and foster carers to read to and with children. Workshops promote enjoyment of books and provide tips and information to encourage adults to read aloud with children. AHWB aims every month to give each child connected to Marymead a brand new quality book as a gift. This is intended to encourage listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Paint the Town Read
    An Australian initiative which gets whole communities involved in reading with children and distributes books to children from birth to adolescence. You can read more about this charity here
  • Early Words
    The Early Words project was created to help parents in western Sydney prepare their children before school for the world of reading and writing.
  • Books in Homes Australia
    The primary purpose of the Books in Homes Australia Programme is to alter the journey of young children growing up in disadvantaged circumstances in Australia.
  • Book charities in the US

  • Reading is Fundamental
    RIF is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. They prepare and motivate children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most.

  • Book Harvest
    Book Harvest is a nonprofit organization, based in central North Carolina, that collects new and gently used children’s books and places them in the hands and homes of children who need them

  • Books through Bars
    We send quality reading material to prisoners and encourage creative dialogue on the criminal justice system, thereby educating those living inside and outside of prison walls.

  • Behind the Book
    Behind The Book’s mission is to motivate young people to become engaged readers by connecting them to contemporary writers and illustrators. We bring authors and their books into individual classrooms to build literacy skills and create a community of life-long readers and writers.

  • Arcs Float On
    ARCs Float On is a grassroots effort by Reach A Reader Advisory Board member Sarah Mulhern Gross to get ARCs into classroom libraries by matching willing donors with needy teachers. It’s a super system for book reviewers who have review copies they’d like to donate.

  • Book it Forward
    Book-It-Forward is a program dedicated to the advancement of reading through the sharing of under utilized books. Book-It-Forward links individuals and institutions looking for books with those who possess books.

  • Florida Literacy Coalition
    The Florida Literacy Coalition (FLC) promotes, supports and advocates for the effective delivery of quality adult and family literacy services in the state of Florida.

  • Literacy Kansas City
    Literacy Kansas City certifies volunteers as tutors and matches them with adult learners from across the Kansas City metropolitan area who want to improve their literacy skills.

  • Lullalee
    Lullalee is to level the playing field in educational services for disadvantaged, un-served and underserved children through reading and literacy; and to promote social change in communities. Lullalee is based in California.

  • Read Indeed
    Read Indeed is a nonprofit literacy organization and the vision of Maria Keller, a book-loving 5th grader who wants to make the world a better place—one book at a time. Maria wants to collect and distribute 1 million books to needy kids by the time she’s 18. Based in Hopkins, MN, you can donate books nationwide in the name of Read Indeed.

  • First Book
    First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada
  • Reading Partners
    One-to-one literacy support in the USA, aiming to “help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results.”
  • Believe in Books Literacy Foundation
    The Believe in Books Literacy Foundation has a broadening mission to enhance the quality of life by education, promotion, encouragement and aide to those of all ages in the appreciation of reading and literature, making a positive impact on literacy. The Foundation is based in Northern New England.
  • Raising Readers in Wyoming
    Raising Readers in Wyoming encourages parents to read to their young children by providing beautiful new books as part of the well child health care visits. Raising Readers in Wyoming is modeled after Raising Readers, a successful health and literacy program in Maine.

  • Kids in Need, Books in Deed
    Kids in Need – Books in Deed is a nonprofit organization that brings free books and free author visits to Kids in Need throughout the state of Florida.
  • Kids Need to Read
    Kids Need to Read works to create a culture of reading for children by providing inspiring books to underfunded schools, libraries, and literacy programs across the United States, especially those serving disadvantaged children. You can donate money, new books or your time to help this charity.
  • Reading Tree
    Reading Tree delivers an effective solution to two problems: the domestic problem of excess books and the global problem of not enough books. We collect books from schools, libraries, and individuals who no longer want them, and send them to schools and libraries which desperately need them.
  • Reach Out and Read
    A US hospital based scheme where volunteers read with children and books are given to child patients at every check-up from the age of six months to five years. As well as learning more about Reach Out and Read from their own website, you can read about them here.
  • Book Ends
    BookEnds, a nonprofit organization based in Southern California, is about Kids Helping Kids. BookEnds recycles children’s books through student-run book drives and places them in schools and youth organizations in need of books.

  • Books to Prisoners
    Books To Prisoners (BTP) is a Seattle-based, all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that sends books to prisoners in the United States. BTP believes that books are tools for learning and opening minds to new ideas and possibilities. By sending books to prisoners, we hope to foster a love of reading and encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.
  • Alaska Literacy Program
    ALP recruits, trains, certifies, and supports volunteer teachers and tutors in and around Anchorage who work one-on-one or in a classroom setting teaching reading, writing and speaking English to over 1000 adults a year.
  • The Comic Book Project
    The Comic Book Project engages children in a creative process leading to literacy reinforcement, social awareness, and character development, then publishes and distributes their work for other children in the community to use as learning and motivational tools.
  • K.I.D.S
    K.I.D.S. brings hope and self-esteem to children in need and their families by providing new clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books and juvenile products donated by leading manufactures and retailers.
  • Family Reading Partnership
    The Family Reading Partnership is a non-profit community organization that promotes early literacy. We are a broad-based, locally grown coalition of individuals, businesses, schools, libraries and other organizations. We have joined forces to “create a culture of literacy” by promoting family reading practices throughout our community. New York based, happy to receive books and volunteers.
  • If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything
    Our Goals: To Encourage… Native children and community members to read for pleasure. To Provide… Indian communities with opportunities to engage in and communicate about reading. To Promote… Library use at tribal schools. To Help Improve… Tribal school library collections. To Support… Tribal school librarians!
  • Words Travel
    Words Travel “is the first national literacy and family strengthening program for incarcerated parents and their children. The venture is a partnership between Scholastic and Volunteers of America”. You can read more about this organization here.
  • Project Cicero
    We are an annual non-profit book drive designed to create – or supplement – school and classroom libraries for children in under-resourced New York City public schools.
  • Darien Book Aid Plan (found via Sarah Lamstein’s website,
    Darien Book Aid is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that builds a foundation of peace, understanding, and friendship by distributing free books. Book Aid sends books in response to specific requests from Peace Corps volunteers, libraries and schools all over the world Books are also donated to libraries, prisons, hospitals, Native American and Appalachian groups in the United States.
  • Reader to Reader (found via Sarah Lamstein’s website,
    Reader to Reader, Inc. is a non-profit organization that distributes books to schools and libraries in need.
  • International Book Project (found via Sarah Lamstein’s website,
    The International Book Project is an international nonprofit whose mission is to promote education and literacy while broadening Americans’ understanding of their neighbors by sending quality used books overseas.
  • The Bridge of Books Foundation
    Working in the New Jersey area, The Bridge of Books Foundation provides new and used books directly to children and children’s organizations. BoB gets books into the hands of children who need them the most, yet have the least access to books. BoB gives books to foster family agencies, homeless shelters, Head Start programs, underfunded schools and after-school programs, neighborhood centers, boys and girls clubs, and directly to children at food pantries.
  • Books for International Goodwill (found via Sarah Lamstein’s website,
    Books for International Goodwill (B.I.G.) has successfully recycled used books for productive use by those who need books for schools and libraries to improve literacy in developing communities around the world. B.I.G. is a project begun by the Parole Rotary Club of Annapolis and is now an independent non-profit entity. It’s motto is “Spreading Literacy by Keeping Books Alive”.
  • The Reading Tub
    The Reading Tub is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting reading and literacy. The Reading Tub collects and distributes books to at-risk readers, whether it is a child with no books at home or a teacher building a classroom library for her struggling students. Donations fund this work, and 100% of the money we receive goes to providing literacy information and shipping books.
  • Milk and Bookies
    A nationwide charitable organization that inspires children to give back, using books as its currency.
  • Book charities in Canada

  • First Book
    First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada
  • Reading Tree
    We have two missions: First, we keep books from contributing to the saturation of our nation’s landfills. Second, we collect books from families who no longer want them, and deliver them to children, families, schools and libraries that desperately need them.
  • ABC Life Literacy
    ABC Life Literacy Canada is a non-profit organization that inspires Canadians to increase their literacy skills.

  • Indigo Love of Reading Foundation
    The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation was established to address the underfunding of Canadian school libraries and the literacy crisis. Love of Reading provides grants for the purchase of new books and education resources to high-needs elementary schools.
  • Calgary Reads
    Calgary Reads is an early literacy initiative changing the lives of struggling grade 1 and 2 readers and their families in Calgary and area schools.

  • Ontario Literacy Coalition
    The Ontario Literacy Coalition makes adult learning opportunities possible by inspiring ideas and informing action.

  • Books for Babies
    Books for Babies® is an early literacy intervention program for newborns and their parents/ caregivers in Newfoundland and Labrador. Goals: To break the cycle of family illiteracy, To promote the benefits of reading to young children, To encourage parents to improve their literacy skills.
  • Book charities in Africa

  • S.T.E.L.L.A.A.
    S.T.E.L.L.A.A. aims to provide literacy & educational resources in Africa, assisting in the eradication of poverty. We want to plant the seeds, and watch African communities grow! S.T.E.L.L.A.A. also has a strong focus on promoting environmental responsibility. By collecting used books and finding a new use for them, we reduce the carbon footprint.

  • Pelican Post
    Pelican Post is an exciting new postal service that allows you to make a direct contribution to stimulating a culture of reading in an African school by sending a book directly to that school
  • Help2Read
    A South African NGO which provides literacy support in schools. As well as visiting Help2Read’s website, you can find out more here.
  • A to Z Literacy Movement
    The team at A to Z Literacy Movement is passionate about providing books to Zambian children. The books will provide our partners with the necessary resources to strengthen literacy achievement in Zambia.
  • Book Aid for Africa
    BAFA is a major initiative aimed at promoting excellence in education in Africa. The initiative is helping to provide good quality books to under-resourced libraries in the remotest parts of Africa, and also making other educational resources available to schools and colleges in Africa.
  • School Aid
    School Aid sends schoolbooks and other educational resources direct to schools in need. We collect all these materials in the UK from schools and other donors. We provide this international recycling service with the help of people like you who give us donations and sponsor our transport and shipping. Our School Aid volunteers collect, sort and pack the boxes for each school before we ship them to African ports.
  • Friends of African Village Libraries
    FAVL’s goal is to assist the rural poor of Africa with the creation of village libraries. FAVL refurbishes community-donated buildings, transforming them into a space to read and study. Libraries are stocked with books by local authors and in local languages to the greatest extent possible. In addition, FAVL sponsors librarian training and provides for librarian salaries, thereby empowering locals with skilled employment
  • Ethiopia Reads
    Our mission: To create a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books.
    TEABAG is a charity in aid of The Education And Book Appeal for Ghana. The work carried out by the charity aims to improve the education of young people in Ghana by providing basic equipment, books and educational facilities.
  • Book Link
    Sending textbooks to Ethiopia
  • Community H.E.A.R.T.
    The campaign aim is to set up school libraries in South Africa so children will have access to books they enjoy reading: story books, novels, information books, the sort of book you would give a child or young person for their birthday or their Christmas. The idea is to help create a culture of reading by giving children access to books, therefore encouraging literacy and helping support school studies.
  • Wings of the Dawn
    Our Vision is to establish functional literate communities in Africa to bridge the gap between poverty and prosperity. Our Mission is to help build economically stable and productive societies in African communities by ensuring access to self-sustaining educational centers for its citizens.
  • The International Children’s Literacy Corps
    The International Children’s Literacy Corps (ICLC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1999 that has as its mission to increase literacy among pre-school children in the developing world, starting with sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Read International
    We are a network of regional student-volunteer-led projects collecting disused books from schools across the UK. We sort them, match them to the Tanzanian/Ugandan syllabus and, if relevant, we send them to East Africa. Any book not relevant to send (we don’t take religious/political books for example) is sold online to generate much needed funding. If it can’t be sent or sold, we recycle it, generating more funding. It’s a simple process. COLLECT, SORT, GENERATE, DISTRIBUTE, RECYCLE. But then, after we’ve collected the books from the UK schools we even deliver a free workshop to educate school children about global citizenship and sustainability.
  • Books Open the World
    Books Open the World (BOTW) is a non-profit, secular organization that seeks to promote and encourage education and opportunity in rural communities (especially in Uganda) to children and women through community libraries, literacy classes, vocational training, support groups, and by supporting all levels of education.
  • Literacy in a Box
    The Rotary Club of Rodborough, Plymouth sends out educational supplies to two selected schools in Zambia.
  • India

  • Pratham and Pratham Books
    Pratham is the largest non governmental organisation working to provide quality education to the underprivileged children of India. Pratham’s flagship program, Read India, helps to improve the reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of the children in the age group of 6-14 years. As part of this programme, Pratham Books publishes affordable and quality books for children in multiple Indian languages. Their mission is to see “a book in every child’s hand” and democratize the joy of reading.
  • Katha
    Katha’s main objective is “To enhance the joy of reading”. They run 2 story centres, translate books into various Indian languages and promote reading in schools.
  • Eklavya
    Eklavya is a non-profit, non-government organisation that develops and field tests innovative educational programmes and trains resource people to implement these programmes. It functions through a network of education resource centres located in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Other book-related charities and organisations

  • Charity Books
    Charity Books was set up in 2004 to provide a book selling and revenue generating service for UK charities. We specialise in the second hand book market and use that knowledge to maximise the prices achieved for books that have been donated for charitable use. NB. We are a business not a charity.
  • Books for Brazil
    Books for Brazil is dedicated to helping underprivileged children from Brazil have access to books. This organization raises funds, acquires books, and distributes them among children and youth of low-income families.
  • Bridge to Asia
    Donate your books to universities in China
  • Haiti Partners
    Haiti Partners aims “to help Haitians change Haiti through education”. They are helping to rebuild the schools destroyed in the January earthquake 2010 and some schools have actually opened. However, none of the schools have books! There is a great need for books in French or Haitian Creole and Haiti Partners is attempting to provide those books. They also spend many hours in teacher training.
  • Family Island Book Initiative
    Family Island Book Initiative provides books for children in the Bahamas to explore and keep. It encourages children to build personal libraries and families to participate in reading development.

  • Better World Books
    Better World Books collects and sells books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than six million new and used titles in stock, we’re a self-sustaining, triple-bottom-line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all our stakeholders.
  • Worldwide Book Drive
    Worldwide Book Drive is a social venture seeking to improve global literacy and the environment. Our simple program is a hub to make this happen. We collect books and sort them for recycling or redistribution. NB This is a business, not a charity.
  • The Literacy Site – Click to give
    The Literacy Site is dedicated to funding free books for children. On average, over 80,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button. To date, more than 87 million visitors have helped provide more than 1.6 million books to children who need them the most.
  • Open Books
    A nonprofit social venture that operates an extraordinary bookstore, provides community programs, and mobilizes passionate volunteers to promote literacy in Chicago and beyond. NB This is not a charity.
  • International Book Bank
    The International Book Bank works with non-profit literacy programs in the developing world to supply them with high-quality new books and educational materials.
  • Mexico Book Project
    A small charity taking Spanish language books to Mexico from Georgia, US.
  • Developments in Literacy
    Developments in Literacy (DIL) is dedicated to providing quality education to disadvantaged children, especially girls, by establishing and operating schools in the underdeveloped regions of Pakistan, with a strong focus on gender equality and community participation.
  • The Afghan Reading Project
    The Afghan Reading Project aims to put books in the hands of Afghan children to inspire reading and learning. We also fund books for older students and practical resources for teachers. ARP has funded the publication of 40,000 books, all produced by Afghan writers, illustrators and printers.
  • Books in Every Home
    Books in Every Home (Ghar Gharma Kitaab) is a grassroots, volunteer-based nonprofit that works in rural Nepal to foster an environment in which reading is truly a part of life, and books are found in every home.
  • Gone Reading
    Not a charity, but an online giftshop for readers, which donates 100% of company profits in perpetuity to fund reading libraries and other literacy projects in the developing world.

  • If you know of any other book-related charities do let me know via a comment and I shall add their details to the list. Remember, every comment is worth 50p to a literacy charity – and if your comment really helps me to improve this list for next year, you get to choose which charity/organization I donate to.

    Other lists also exist of book related charities, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, try one of these:

  • Reading Tub’s list of Literacy Organizations
  • Literacy charities listed at Charities Direct
  • Global Giving – search using keywords “books”, “reading”, “literacy”.
  • The post at blog Steph Su Reads entitled “So you want to donate books?”

  • Thanks to everyone, past and present, who helped me compile this list including Karin Tusting, Bonnie Boles, Matt Finch, Jane Stemp Wickenden, Jennifer Rothschild, Heidi Hammond, Nancy Thalia Reynolds, Jan Springy, Judith Ridge, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Jane Kurtz, Jenn Geringer, Sandra McLeod Humphrey, Jackie, Bridget Carrington, Gayle Baigelman, Carol Hampton Rasco and Valarie Budayr. If I’ve missed you off this list, my apologies – let me know and I’ll add you!

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    53 Responses

    1. Dear Zoe,

      What an amazing site! Thank you so much! so far I mailed 20 oganisations, hoping and praying that I can be able to receive used/second hand books for children (any level) I live in Spain. My community is 2,000 population, very quiet in the winter.We have 1 Primary school and 1 Spanish library BUT only books in Spanish.

      I’m a full time mom, giving free English lessons at home. The number of unemployment in Spain is very high and not eveybody can afford to buy English books. Many children in my community love to learn, read and speak English. I would really appreciate it if some of you or any organisations can help me any used/second hand books will do.

      Thank you. Please help.

      Kind regards

    2. gyan jyoti foundation nepal


      I am Sudhir dhungana the founder of ‘Gyan jyoti foundation Nepal I have establish this foundation donate books to schools, collages & community library, women education & literacy classes ,senior citizen club, drug & alcohol rehab center ,orphan home for the help of needy students / persons for their library

      My organization has started to collect old & used books by local donor since the last four year I have been donating books to other institutions for the students / persons who cannot afford to buy new books to study.

      Books are the first keys to knowledge and donating books is our way to share our success with the society and, a public library like mine is a great place to make them easily accessible for all the needy students.

      I thank you in anticipation for considering our request for donating books for the sake of Needy students/persons Together, can make their lives much easier and better. If you have any queries about our organization or our work, please contact me.

      Yours sincerely

      Sudhir dhungana (gyan jyoti foundation Nepal)

      Tel. +977-9841342981

    3. Dear Zoe,

      What a great resource for people who are passionate about books, reading and literacy!

      I wanted to tell you about Reading Matters, for whom I work, as we are not currently included in the list but we work to improve the reading skills and life chances of children and young people in the UK. We recruit adult volunteers who are trained and vetted and place in schools throughout Yorkshire as Reading Mentors to give vital 1:1 support with reading. In addition we offer a range of training courses, some with accreditation, on how to best support children’s reading development. We also train Reading Leaders, who are older pupils that support younger ones with their reading, to be positive role models in schools. Please see our website for more information.

      Kind regards


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