It all started when…

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Philly Bookshelf incorporated in Washington State and received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in 2018.

In 2017, I cleaned out my remaining childhood items from my parents' home in the Philadelphia suburbs and was surprised to discover the lack of places to donate books. Other cities I've lived in have fantastic book exchange programs, but Philadelphia was lacking. As an avid reader my whole life, books shaped my understanding of the world as well as contributed to my successes in education and my career. Books inspired my love of travel and food. Books created a sense of compassion for others and intrigue with the outdoors and different cultures. I grew up in a book-rich home, which offered me tremendous opportunities and I strongly believe everyone deserves the same.

I spent several months researching literacy and was alarmed when I discovered the incredible need for additional literacy resources and support in the Philadelphia area. The extent of poverty in Philadelphia is astonishing: 25% of adults and 38% of children live in poverty in Philadelphia; the poverty rate in some neighborhoods of Philadelphia is 44.4%; approximately 60,000 children live in deep poverty in Philadelphia. Nearly 1 in 3 Philadelphians is "low literate". This is incredibly distressing when coupled with the statistics that 61% of low income children grow up in homes without any books and books are the single biggest indicator of academic success. 

I set out to create a community that shares books to do my part to increase access to books in the Philadelphia area. So many of us have books gathering dust on shelves in our homes that we will never read again. Let’s give others the opportunity to learn and experience through reading. How easy would it be to declutter our personal bookshelves by donating books to community bookshelves that our neighbors can access? Together we can make a difference.

We invite you to be a part of our community by reading books, donating books, hosting a book drive, hosting a bookshelf and/or financially supporting our work. To learn more about how you can get involved with Philly Bookshelf, CLICK HERE.  

Abbie DuFrayne, August 2018


To see a list of sources for statistics on our website, Click Here