Raising a reader takes on new meaning when you step outside your own home and bring literature and literacy to your hometown. From the very simple (donate books) to the elaborate (build your own Little Free Library), we’ve found six ways that any family can give your town a little lit. Read on to get inspired.

photo: Krissa Corbett Cavouras

1. Build It Up

You’ve seen them popping up in your neighborhood or maybe across town, now you’re ready to take the step and create your own Little Free Library. Click here to get the details on how to make it happen and get inspiration for your own signature set of shelves.

2. Go Mobile

Does your local library have a bookmobile program? If yes, find out about sponsoring the bookmobile to head to a school or local event. You can fundraise for donations, volunteer to help staff or join the library in an outreach program.

3. Donate

Goodwill stores always take donations of books but did you know they also have a book program you can donate to? Check out Goodwill’s BookWorks program whose mission is to bring new or nearly new books to thousands of underprivileged kids. You can donate books directly, donate funds or volunteer as a reader or sorter. Click here to learn more.

4. Host It

Host a book drive. Organizations like BookWorks offer tips for doing it or try it for your local school library or local youth program. Nationwide, First Book aims at literacy for all children.  Contact a few places to see who needs books and then spread the word! The easiest thing to do is print up cheap flyers (or use email) and give potential donors a window of time (like a month long period) to donate books. Make sure you are clear if you accept new or nearly new books only, and provide guidelines like no torn pages, etc. Then assemble your library’s worth and make your donation. Make sure

5. Gather Together

Start a kid’s book club in your ‘hood. Read our guide on how to do it right and then get to it!

6. Volunteer

Check with your local chapter of Friends of the Library, the public library in your town and your school library. While they may not need volunteers on the front lines, there are often behind-the-scenes opportunities to pitch in, especially when there are book sales or other events. And pretty much nobody will say no to some clean up help after a big messy kid’s event!

What are your favorite ways to bring literacy and literature to your community? Share your ideas in the comments below! 

—Amber Guetebier