Building a safe, child-friendly space

In many communities, the school library is the only place designed around the needs of children. It is vital that the library facilitates effective learning, socialization skills and play. Although our libraries come in all shapes and sizes, they share a few common traits, including educational puzzles and games, child-sized furniture, colorful, print-rich decorations and shelves full of local-language books.

Putting the library in place is only the first step. Once it’s complete, we work with school administration to ensure that children have ample time during school to explore the new resource and train teachers to effectively utilize the library materials to support the curriculum.

Community investment

Each community is challenged to invest in its new library. Parents, community leaders, and school administration contribute to the project by providing labor and materials. The completed library is owned and operated entirely by the community in partnership with the local Ministry of Education, who are responsible for all upkeep and staffing. Room to Read provides three years of initial training along with ongoing support to get the library up and running, and lay the foundation for long-term sustainability.

Our flexible, focused approach provides educators with a solid foundation in library management in addition to opportunities for informal, on-the-spot training.

Books for everyone

Room to Read libraries are stocked with a variety of locally-relevant books designed to capture the imagination of young readers. We classify storybooks, nonfiction texts and chapter books by reading level so that all readers can find materials at their level and continue to improve their budding literacy skills. As students' reading skills improve, they can move up the scale and find new books to challenge their minds and engage their curiosity.

Illustrations from I'm Old Enough published by Room to Read in Cambodia

Access to resources

In places where community libraries or internet access are non-existent, Room to Read libraries serve as one of the few resources for independent learning and information-gathering for curious young minds. Our goal is to provide a variety of content to children in these communities, covering a myriad of themes including: gender equality, the environment, health, art, beginning words and basic vocabulary, morals and values, family life, folktales, rhymes and poems.

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Our results

Room to Read has established more than 15,000 great new school libraries in developing countries since the year 2000. We have stocked them with a variety of bright, colorful, locally-relevant materials to inspire and encourage young minds. Our in-country teams staffed by local nationals have provided them with three years of professional development, training, and mentorship to aid their success. Nearly five million children have benefitted from these


libraries during the three years of support each one receives from Room to Read. With your help we can continue to bring these great resources to more children across the developing world.

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Libraries Established
Books Distributed

Less than 1% of US nonprofits have received eight consecutive Charity Navigator four star ratings. Our transparency and accountability place us among the best charities. See for yourself.

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See our work

Documentary filmmakers travel to Room to Read projects across Asia and Africa to tell the stories of children who are benefitting from our programs.

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You can change the world

Send a girl to school, start a library, or build new classrooms. We can help you run your own fundraising campaign with your friends and family, complete with your own microsite to collect gifts and track your progress.

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Have questions?

Contact us online at

Global Office:
+1 (415) 839-4400
9am-5pm Pacific Time (US)
Mon-Fri, excluding holidays

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