Where Our Books Go


Outreach Events


My Little Library

Special Partnerships

Other Opportunities


We have delivered tens of thousands of books for students in all grades in schools throughout New Jersey for a range of literacy events throughout the school year and summer.  Students choose books through “Free Book Fairs,”  where the donations are laid out so that students can “shop.”

Over the years, we have also come to recognize that our books can have a greater impact if they cycle in and out of classroom lending libraries.  As long as students do not get in trouble if they decide to keep a book and students are encouraged to take books at the end of the year for summer reading, we are happy to assist teachers with creating and or adding books to classroom lending libraries to broaden the types of books available.

Most importantly, we are not one-time donors.  Kids need ongoing access to books in order to develop literacy skills. We have been donating books to students in some districts for nearly 20 years!

Directly to Children at Community Outreach Events

We participate in community events such as resource fairs distributing books directly to children who attend. Parents and children are often surprised to learn that the books are free and they are delighted to take books home to keep.

Most recently, we hosted a “Winter Wonderland Free Book Fest” with a guest appearance by Miss Teen USA 2023-24, UmaSofia Srivastava, at the Jersey Explorer Children’s Museum in East Orange. Children and families were delighted to select multiple books to take home and listen to Miss Teen USA read her book, The White Jaguar. (Insert photo of UmaSofia & Kids) For the 3rd year, we also brought a donation to books to distribute to children and families at the holiday food distribution through NJ BITE in Jersey City. Children and adults loved being able to select books to take home for the holidays. One mom shared that she and her kids were just getting out of a shelter and how awesome it was to have books to bring to her new apartment for her kids.

For almost two decades, we have also sponsored events to coincide with Read Across America Week in March each year. From massive book distributions to in-classroom reading, we love to celebrate Read Across America Week!

A Special Partnership with New Jersey Youth Corps

Bridge of Books developed a win-win partnership with this Agency early on when establishing book distribution opportunities. The New Jersey Youth Corps is a full-time voluntary program with a strong focus on community service that provides education, work experience and life skills training to approximately 1,000 low-income out-of-school youths between the ages of 16 and 25. Youth Corps members from around the State picked up large book donations to distribute them directly to underserved children in their own communities. Over the course of this partnership, Bridge of Books donated tens of thousands of books to underserved children through all eleven Youth Corps sites including: Asbury Park, Camden, Trenton, Vineland, Jersey City and Edison. While Youth Corps has changed its focus, the core importance of this early relationship to Bridge of Books’ growth remains unchanged.

Teens Talk Books

Teens need books, too. So, we designed a program to reach teens through writing contests held at high schools across the state. Our goal? Encourage recreational reading, gather data on how teens view reading and to find out what books interest them. All participants received new books to keep.

The program was simple – students who fully completed a short online survey about reading practices selected a new book from a list of popular young adult titles, including Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why, Tupac’s A Rose that Grew from Concrete and Ellen Hopkin’s Crank. Surveys were then reviewed by a group of educators, who chose anywhere from 10-20 students to receive an additional book of their choice. We delivered all the books to the district and presented the winners with both their books.

All in all, nearly 1500 teens from high schools in Newark, Trenton, Lakewood and Keansburg participated in the program.

My Little Library

In 2012, immediately after Hurricane Sandy, we jumped into action to try to determine where books might be of assistance in helping children to attain some sort of normalcy in the wake of such a devastating storm. Once children were able to return to school, we realized that non-school age children were still having to accompany their parents to the FEMA centers and sit, sometimes for hours, while paperwork was completed. To solve this problem, Bridge of Books Foundation created and distributed nearly 300 individual “Bags of Books” to pre-school children in the months following Sandy.The feedback was positive – both from the FEMA workers and the parents.

With the success of the “Bags of Books” concept, we went on to facilitate a hugely successful distribution of “Bags of books” to kids being adopted in Cumberland County. Knowing it was time to formally name this program, we created the My Little Library program along with our new hashtag- #BooksForAll. Our inaugural distribution? “My Little Library” totes to hundreds of New Jersey Foster Children celebrating their adoptions.

Books & Barbers

During the latter part of 2016, we had the opportunity to support two separate literacy initiatives to make books available to underserved kids through a new “community” – barbershops. The first initiative, “Fade to Books,” was the brainchild of Tonya Garcia, the Director of the Long Branch Public Library. The 2nd initiative was named “Read Up to Shape Up,” and was spearheaded by the Department of Child Protection and Permanency in Essex County.
As an organization dedicated to providing access to books for underserved kids, we loved the creativity of this distribution model and recognized the very real potential to reach boys – who often fall behind in their literacy skills at an early age. We were immediately in and provided enough books to create free libraries in 22 separate Essex and Monmouth barbershops.

Essex County Barbers cut the ribbon to Launch the “Read Up to Shape Up” program.

Since these initial launches, we remain involved in helping to launch many, many more “Barbershop Bookshelves” across multiple NJ Counties. The feedback about the impact that these “Barbershop Bookshelves” are having on the youth who visit these shops is extremely positive. We have gathered resources from the various programs and would like to share them here in an effort of raise awareness about this idea and make it easier for programs to start in new communities across New Jersey.

Bottom line, we know that barbershops in low-income areas are an amazing opportunity to get books into the hands of kids who need them – especially boys. (We are also not opposed to working with hair salons too! We just haven’t been asked). If you are already working with a barbershop that needs more books or you are thinking about setting one or more up in your community, please explore the resources below and let us know! Apply here to find out more about “Books & Barbers.”

If you know of an event, school, or community where you think one of these programs could be a fit, please reach out to us – we’d love to chat! [email protected]