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Explore our conversations, research and life at Literati as we discuss what it means to elevate the global consciousness through books.

Literati Helps Austin Public Library Take Reading on the Road

Literati loves to spread childhood literacy in any way possible, which means going beyond our subscription service and making sure every child has access to books. That’s where our donation program comes in. 

Literati members can use every monthly box to donate old books—stories that are no longer household favorites, books at reading levels your child oh-so-quickly grew out of, etc. Every book has the potential to enrich the imagination and intellect of a child. When they’ve done their job in one home, we work to make sure they move on to new homes. And there are so many amazing partners that help us with this important mission. 

Recently, we teamed up with Austin Public Library, who has been helping to encourage literacy in the Austin community for years. This year, however, presented new challenges. Typically, the library works with schools and summer programs to give out books to kids. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that more difficult, so APL had to pivot—they took the library to the streets! The APL Bookmobile has been moving around Austin, meeting families wherever they are.

The APL Bookmobile in action. Photo courtesy of Austin Public Library.

“This kind of outreach has been a big learning curve, but everyone stepped up,” says Melissa Sanchez, Community Services Programs Manager at Austin Public Library. “Even if we’re just parking the bookmobile anywhere visible, we’re showing up. We want the community to know that we’re still here.”

Van, APL’s puppet, sometimes makes a special appearance at bookmobile events. Photo courtesy of Austin Public Library.

The APL Mobile Library has been an instrumental way for the library to continue to serve those who are underserved, while keeping everyone safe and socially-distanced. Melissa and her team show up with bins of books and walk around giving them out. They serve many civic action events, making sure everyone is able to do things like fill out the census and register to vote. They’re trying to reach as many children and families as possible, asking every person what kind of stories they’d like to read. “We find something for everybody.”

Courtesy of Austin Public Library

And the best part? There are no due dates on these books. 

“It’s so great to say, ‘These are yours. You can keep them,’” Melissa tells us, especially when many of these children don’t have many books of their own at home. The Bookmobile even has wifi, so people can get online if needed. 

Literati might be biased (we’re a bunch of self-proclaimed book nerds, after all), but we think the Bookmobile is pretty much the coolest thing ever. So, we gave APL 2,000 books to help the cause. We know that many nonprofits are doing things differently these days, and we believe that families need books now more than ever. So, we’re all willing to do whatever it takes to help make that happen. 

“It’s hard to put into words how important it is to have books,” agrees Melissa. “If all you’ve got is the TV or there’s one device for the household, because the internet and phones cost money, books play a huge part in entertainment and lifelong learning.”

Another consequence of the pandemic is the lack of social interaction. “They’re missing out on developing those social skills. With a book, you can spend time together. Siblings can read together.” In fact, Melissa tells us that many children show up to these events with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends all packed into the car. In the absence of open libraries and public reading spaces, it’s heartening to see so many children excited for the chance to read. They’re ready for new stories, new friends, and new adventures inside every book.

Courtesy of Austin Public Library

“I’ve been in this world of book donations for about five years and it’s amazing. I couldn’t believe how good the delivery of Literati books was.” We love working with people like Melissa at the Austin Public Library. People that share our passion for inspiring children’s literacy. And people who care enough to do whatever it takes to get more books in more hands. We’re beyond proud to help fuel the APL Bookmobile.

Get in Touch!

If you’re in the Austin area, you can find out where to find the Bookmobile here

If you know or work with an organization that can help Literati find new homes for donated books, we’d love to hear from you.

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