Access Books Bay Area works closely with the Bay Area schools serving the area's poorest students, whose lives and educations have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Access to reading material, in particular, has been interrupted, as most children living in poverty do not have access to many books in their home, and rely heavily on their school libraries, most of which are currently closed. Our work is helping school libraries to resume lending to their students in a safe way, as well as providing direct access to high quality, culturally relevant, engaging reading materials. Reading for pleasure has been shown repeatedly to be one of the single most important factors in determining academic success. Access Books Bay Area is helping to bridge the gap in access to reading materials between the Bay Area haves and have-nots, one school at a time.
You can help us do more as a videographer. We need to spread the word about the great work we're doing, and our abilities to take good video footage of our projects, and film interviews with the people impacted by our work, are limited by our lack of trained people and proper equipment. We are looking for someone with experience and equipment to help us out shooting raw footage for videos to show current and potential sponsors the impact of our work. Video editing will be done separately.
Our mission is to level the literacy playing field for K-8 students living in poverty by providing high quality, high-interest, culturally relevant books, and a transformed school library space that invites students to spend time and read. We believe that books change lives, and that for children living in poverty, the school library is the best way to connect children with pleasure reading books. Studies have shown that reading for pleasure is one of the single greatest indicators of future academic success, yet the state of California provides no dedicated funding for school libraries, and many of the schools in the Bay Area have not funded their school libraries for decades, leading to out-dated collections and unattractive facilities. Our organization changes lives by making sure that the school library is an attractive place full of wonderful, interesting, recent, and culturally relevant books that will help them become lifelong readers.
We provide books to low-income schools where approximately 90 percent of students live at or below the poverty line. Most students at the schools we serve are children of color and children of immigrants. Our organization provides brand new, hardcover, high quality books to school libraries and gently used books to teachers for classroom libraries, as well as improving the library space by painting colorful, reading-based murals and providing new comfortable reading furniture.
We complete 2-3 library renovation projects each academic year, each taking place on a Saturday from 9am - 2pm. Volunteers from partner community service organizations collect the gently used books to be donated and provide volunteers for the project day. We serve school around the bay area, although most of our work to date has been concentrated in the south bay and peninsula areas. We have renovated nine elementary and middle school libraries in high poverty areas to date, and have applications pending for four more, one of which will be renovated this spring.
Since our founding in 2016, we have provided over 5000 new books, and 15,000 used books to schools. We have served nearly 4000 students and their families, have worked with more than a dozen different service organizations, and have had almost 400 volunteers work on our projects.