Give the gift of reading to those most in need today.
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen King
Bringing access to a world of books and online services free to all, the Boston Public Library (BPL) provides wide-ranging support for the most vulnerable populations. Today, with the escalating threat of COVID-19, it is impossible to lend items in traditional ways. With gaps in safety nets widening, and an increasing digital divide we are now also unable to reach those most in need: those without internet access or an electronic device are now without access to our space and in-person resources.
Children and families who are homeless, the elderly living in isolation, and those sheltering from a violent family member would surely welcome the few moments of escape that a good book can provide as they cope with the increased anxiety this pandemic is creating. That is why the Boston Public Library is leading an initiative to safely deliver new children’s and adult books, curated and purchased by the Library, to a variety of non-profit organizations serving individuals in the City of Boston who are at especially high-risk during this pandemic.
New books will be purchased through local bookstores, with titles selected based on input provided by the organizations about their clients’ interests. Thrillers, mysteries, children’s books, and titles by a wide range of diverse authors will be distributed, with many books coming from the seller’s current stock to cut down on shipping costs and in an effort to help support local small businesses. Providing new books reduces any safety concerns, and every effort is being made to ensure minimal handling and follow appropriate public health guidance.
With more than 1,400 new books, the Library has safely delivered to: Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program in the South End; Pine Street Inn; St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Dorchester; the Kennedy Center, which provides services to children, families and elders in Charlestown; the Elizabeth Stone House, a domestic violence shelter in Roxbury and Standish Village Assisted Living in Dorchester; Black Seed Writer's Group and Dorchester Family Engagement Network.
The Library is working to meet the burgeoning demand as the list of organizations and needs grow, and will accelerate new deliveries as funds allow. The Library most recently partnered with Boston Hope Medical Center, a 1,000 bed medical center for those recovering from COVID-19. Located at the Boston Exhibition & Convention Center in the Seaport, the center has 500 beds for those recovering from the virus, and 500 beds to help support community members who are homeless.
This program is currently unfunded and private support is needed.
Please join us in providing the gift of reading and discovery by supporting Books for Boston with a gift today.
Gifts can also be mailed to the Boston Public Library Fund, Books for Boston, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116.