Every book Bags of Books collects is directly transferred to a child’s hands, providing a growing reader with a unique opportunity to explore his or her imagination and expand his or her academic horizons. The project strives to create educational equality by promoting literacy and a love of reading, raising awareness of the growing need for donated books, and preventing the destructive educational effects of the "summer slide."
Bags of Books aims to improve literacy with a bottom to top approach- combating immediate gaps in literacy access at home, while creating sustainable community systems for students to utilize as they continue to learn and grow. The project collects new and gently used books to supplement local school and community libraries and organizes "pop-up" stores where students of all ages can shop for a bag full of free books of their choice. These books will become the cornerstone of their new at-home libraries.
Bags of Books partners with a diverse network of volunteers of all ages. The high involvement of youth volunteers in the project makes us unique as a literacy campaign for children, by children.
When Alexa Grabelle learned that students in her own community did not have access to books to read at home, she set out to make a difference in the lives of local children with her project, Bags of Books. Initially a modest book drive for a single class, her project collected over 2,000 books in the first year. Over the past seven-plus years, Bags of Books has collected over 140,000 books for thousands of children across the country. Supported by major institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania and the KIPP Public Charter Schools, the project is now taking steps to expand its reach to students around the world. So far Alexa has book collections and distributions in place in 15 states and 4 countries. She hopes to expand to all 50 states! Bags of Books is always partnering with companies who sponsor no-cost internal employee book collections (see our partners page for more information)!