Book charities

posted in: Uncategorized | 33

**Please Note: I now have an updated list of charities (published January 2012) click here to go to the most up to date book charity listing**

I hope all of you have had a wonderful few days full of laughter and good times! We’ve certainly had a great holiday (wow! J has slept through for several nights!) and I’m now looking forward (in every sense) to the new year and getting back to blogging regularly (amongst other things 😉 )

Photo: Orin Zebest
Photo: Orin Zebest

Once the new year has kicked in and our new computer (we’re still without one) is up and running I shall be holding another giveaway. Last time I gave a copy of the book selected by Ashley to M’s nursery, but this time I want to make a donation to a charity involved with books and/or literacy (in addition to offering a book to the winner, as before 🙂 )

To this end I’ve been researching what charities there are out there that distribute (kids’) literature, support literacy projects or are some other way involved with books. This has led me to compile a list of all such charities I could find, and it seemed to me that such a list might be of interest and use to others so I’m publishing it here in the hope you’ll too find something interesting that you want to follow up.

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 | Other

International book charities
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.

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.

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.

School books from Oxfam
If you can read this, then you already know how important school books can be. Your gift of school books will do a world of good, helping children to learn and teachers to teach.

Book charities in the UK
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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Centre for Children’s Books
Seven Stories is the first museum in the UK wholly dedicated to the art of British children’s books. A donation will help fulfil the building’s potential by making it a new kind of environment for involvement, education, and 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.

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

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
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

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.

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 inidividuals who no longer want them, and send them to schools and libraries which desperately need them.

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. 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.

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!

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.

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.

For more organizations and charities with a book/literacy focus in the US and Canada, there is a very useful list on The Reading Tub’s wiki page about Literacy Organizations.

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.

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.

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

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

Books 4 Tanzania is a small independent charitable organisation sourcing books for rural libraries and supporting small educational projects.

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.

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.

Bridge to Asia
Donate your books to universities in China

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.

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 (If there is something similar for the US/Canada/Australia please let me know)}

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.

**Please Note: I now have an updated list of charities (published January 2012) click here to go to the most up to date book charity listing**

33 Responses

  1. vanessa@silly eagle books

    Hi, Zoe! Thanks for the bear book recommendation! I’ll look forward to your upcoming review. Glad to hear your Christmas was good and that J is doing better! I have been thinking of her and hoping for a quick recovery. We had a great Christmas together–just the three of us–a lot of relaxing and lounging about. 🙂 I hope you get your computer soon!

  2. Clare

    READ International is another UK book charity. They collect disused school text books and redistribute them to Uganda & Tanzania. To date they have sent almost 600,000 text books.

  3. Terry Doherty

    We’re pretty small, but the Reading Tub distributes more than 500 books each year to at-risk readers and we have a school-based program to get books for classroom and school libraries in Title I schools.

    We also sponsor a Literacy and Reading Wiki that has charities, too. I would love to include some of the charities you’ve found and their descriptions … with permission!!

  4. EduHope (Educational Hope)

    EduHope is a new charity with the aim of making live not a living, by collecting nursery to secondary books for Africa, mainly Ghana, to help fight poverty. Also to bridge the gap in education between the rich and the poor in Ghana. Please advice on how best to do this. Thanks

    • Zoe

      I’m afraid I’ve never worked for a charity so I can’t really offer any advice on your situation. Perhaps you could contact one of the other charities listed here and ask for their assistance?

  5. Amina Marix Evans

    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. From time to time we give books to organizations working overseas, but since so many other charities do that, we concentrate mainly on the people in our own area.
    The website is down for redesign, but I’ll get it up and running again as soon as I can.

    People in UK who would like to start a local Borderline Books project – please contact me – the more the merrier. It also avoids burning fuel to send books long distance.

  6. Nina

    Hi, a bit belated, but just came across your blog post. School Aid is another charity that is involved in literacy, sending unwanted school books from the UK to schools in Africa.

  7. George Best

    I am impressed Playing by the book the activities of this organization, and would like my organization to be a partner so that my the children that we deal with in our education projects can benefit. Kindly let me know hoe my organization can be involved with you . Thanks

  8. Katherine

    Hi Zoe,

    You might want to add Booktrust to your UK list – 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.

  9. goodhands books and library foundations

    we are out to serve nigerians who dont have the privilege to access good books for learning and so we provide accademic surport materials to aid them with the trend of information to build a sustainable developing environment.
    you can reach with 4205 Aba Abia State. Nigeria

  10. Bernie Book Bank

    Make sure to check out this success story in the Chicago area:

    Bernie’s Book Bank facilitates the collection, processing and redistribution of new and gently used children’s books to
    significantly increase BOOK OWNERSHIP among at-risk infants,
    toddlers and school-age children throughout Chicagoland. Since its starting in 2009, they have distributed more than 777,168 book to underprivileged kids in the Chicago area.

    Bernie’s Book Bank is the logistical bridge between where books are today, and are no longer being used, to where they are not, but are desperately needed. They do three things exceptionally well: they collect hundreds of thousands of new and gently used books; they process them into collections of six age-appropriate and leveled books; and they deliver them directly into the hands of low-income children who have none of their own.

    With a sense of urgency and professionalism, they’ve taken the guesswork out of what to do with outgrown children’s books. Bernie’s Book Bank is changing that trajectory today for more than 50,000 children in Chicago and its suburbs. Each child they serve receives a minimum of 12 books per year from us. The books are theirs to keep at home forever.

    As the Chicago community’s children’s book bank, and a registered 501c3 charitable organization, they rely on donations of books, volunteers and funding! They plan to be distributing 1 million books per year in the Chicago area by 2013, to grow to serve every at-risk child in Chicagoland, and then to expand to other major cities in America.
    Bernie Book Bank recently posted..SPONSOR: Suite 100 Video

  11. Horizon Children's Programme

    Horizon Children’s Programme distributes donated books from the UK in Sierra Leone.
    The founder does a lot of awareness raising talks to Community groups and schools, who in turn donate text books, reading books and various educational materials, and organise fundraising events to transport the donated items to Sierra Leone. Once in Sierra Leone the books are distributed to schools according to their needs. The main focus is on schools in rural parts of the country where resources are scarce
    The charity is currently working to establish a mobile library for village schools in Sierra Leone. You can visit them at / or follow their current activities on their facebook page Horizon Children’s Programme

  12. Ted Norrie


    I was wondering if there was book charity org. that sends books to countries in the pacific like Papua New Guinea.

    I have a highschool in Papua New Guinea that needs books to stockup its library.


  13. Robert Lockyer

    Would like to add one more to the above list. One Million Words Asia Literacy Organization, staffed 100% by volunteers, so all donations go to our projects. It was started in 2015 to provide textbooks and readers in any requested language to rural and remote schools in Asia. Read more at

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