October 27, 2015
Our friends at the Better World Books Literacy Council share their #ThankstoEducation story and the magic of books.
Books have unique magic. They have the power to transport us, expand us, open us up, tear down walls between us, build us to new heights and lead the way to new worlds, both real and imagined. It is this magic that pulses through all the diverse, passionate book lovers and nerds that make up Better World Books--a nonprofit organization that collect and sell books online to donate them and fund literacy initiatives worldwide.
Though backgrounds vary from those with advanced degrees to those pursuing an education, the love of lifelong learning unites us all. We are passionate about education because it has opened up the world of books to us and allowed us to keep on learning regardless of where we are in life.
According to the Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2015, there are still 781 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds of whom are women. In sub-Saharan Africa half of women are illiterate. In April, EFA reported that only one-third of the countries had reached the education goals they had set in 2000. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) shows that the number of children and adolescents who are out of school has been on the rise since 2010.
While literacy rates are growing overall, goals are not being reached and children, especially those in conflict areas, are not receiving adequate education. This is why we support literacy, libraries and education by, for instance, donating a book for every one sold through our Book for Book program.
Better World Books got its start on a college campus and continues to work with campus bookstores and groups to promote book drives to aid literacy. We've partnered with organizations such as Room to Read to help promote literacy and education around the world. We also work with libraries to help better their programs and resources. Through our grants, we fund projects and programs that find innovative ways to bring books and education to many.
Books and learning are our passions. People are both our greatest resource and our greatest inspiration. This inspiration comes in many forms: A child receiving a book of his very own for the first time. A school in a developing area stocking its classrooms with much needed books. A program creating a self-learning sign-language book for the pre-lingual deaf in Papua New Guinea. No matter how near or far, big or small, their stories inspire us just as books inspire them.
It is this inspiration that powers how we work--books come to us from all over the world only to be sent out to readers everywhere. They arrive from book drives, donation drop boxes and libraries. Then we sort them to decide whether to sell, donate or recycle them. (If we were a book, we’d be a choose-your-own adventure story!) These books and all the magic they contain get a second chance to impact readers all over the world. Click here for an inside view.
And it's the people driving our system that provide us with the resources to respond to our passion for learning: people who donate books and buy books; people who ship the books from our warehouses and share our story with others; people who work at libraries and tell us about those in need of books; people who work for literacy worldwide. These are the people we learn from every day as we find new ways to support global literacy.
Better World Books grew out of a simple campus book drive, which raised money for literacy. A few college students used their collective knowledge and passion to transform used books into a full-fledged social enterprise built to fund literacy and impact people with the power of books. Better World Books has raised over $21 million for literacy, libraries and education, donated over $17 million books, and given $500,000 in grants to libraries and literacy nonprofits. To see where Better World Books has made a difference, visit our Impact Map.