February 23, 2004
Room to Read and Campus Community Outreach (CCO) today announced an innovative partnership that will result in the funding and establishment of over 100 new school libraries in Asian villages with high illiteracy rates. Over 30,000 children in Cambodia, India, Nepal and Vietnam will, for the first time in their lives, have access to libraries.
Room to Read is a global organization that partners with hundreds of the world's poorest communities to build new schools and to establish school libraries. Founded in 2000, the group has already built 63 schools, established over 700 school libraries, and made 300,000 books available to children.
CCO is the largest online bookstore with an "all profits to charity" model. CCO collects used books, especially college textbooks, that are bound for the trash heap or the recycling bin. Working in partnership with Amazon.com and eBay, CCO then sells these books in the burgeoning online used book market.
Since all profits go to charity, this partnership provides book buyers with a socially responsible option whenever they shop for used books. Students are also offered a better alternative -- they have an opportunity to support global literacy, rather than contribute to a landfill, when they are told by their campus bookstore that their used textbook is "obsolete".
Book drives allow anyone to support Room to Read, regardless of their financial status. Most college students can't write a $1,000 check to fund the establishment of a school library. However, by collecting 400 unwanted textbooks, the money they raise will have exactly the same impact. Most campus-based organizations (such as social clubs, fraternities and sororities) don't have the $5,000 needed to build a school in Nepal. But by collecting 2,000 books, they have the power to make that school a reality.
"With Room to Read's extensive network of supporters and CCOs experience in conducting book drives and monetizing book donations, we will find new homes for thousands of old books. At the same time, we will raise enough money to increase literacy rates in some of the poorest villages in the world," said John Wood, Founder and Chairman of Room to Read. "We hope to energize thousands of people, especially college students, to turn used books into new school libraries, thereby offering children from poverty-stricken villages the lifelong gift of education."
CCO co-founder Xavier Helgesen added: "CCO has a proven track record and an efficient model that help make every book drive a success. Our team coaches campus-based Book Drive Volunteers throughout the process, and we provide the needed materials such as posters, press release templates and collection boxes. We also arrange for the transport of books to our centralized warehouse. So rather than unneeded books being thrown out, those who are passionate about global literacy can 'monetize' the books through the CCO and Room to Read partnership."
Students, activists, campus organizations, and anyone concerned about global literacy can get started immediately by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 415.561.3331.
About Campus Community Outreach
Every year, millions of unwanted books end up in landfills in the US. The winner of the 2003 McClosky Social Venture Competition, Campus Community Outreach is putting an end to this waste.CCO uses the untapped value in unwanted books to run a completely self-sustaining operation to fund world literacy. In just its first year, the organization has monetized over 50,000 books. To find out more, please visit www.campuscommunityoutreach.com