Books for Boston: new books for those in need

Program purchases new books from local sellers, safely delivers to local non-profits

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced today that the Boston Public Library's (BPL) "Books for Boston" program has delivered more than 1,000 new children’s and adult books to a variety of non-profit organizations serving high-risk individuals in the City of Boston.  The program supports local businesses by purchasing the books from local booksellers.

"Many people relied on their Boston Public Library branch for access to books and other materials at no cost," Mayor Walsh said.  "We have a wealth of material available online right now, but not everyone is able to get set up with wifi and online resources.  And when you're doing the right thing and staying at home, you need and deserve access to books and art more than ever."  

To date, the Library has delivered nearly 1,400 books, with a goal of distributing 5,000 books.  It is expected that thousands of these new books will be delivered to Bostonians through local non-profits in the coming weeks.

With the escalating threat of COVID-19, the BPL is not able to lend physical items in traditional ways. Some of Boston’s most underserved citizens do not have internet access or an electronic device to access the Library’s online resources.  To serve this population, the Library launched Books for Boston, a program that provides new books to the children and adults most at risk.

Recipient organizations have provided a list of specific book genres (mysteries, young adult fiction, bilingual children’s books, history, best sellers, and more) that are of interest to their clients. BPL librarians then curate booklists, and the Library purchases books from local booksellers, who then safely deliver the books, using all appropriate safety precautions.  

New books are being shipped to the following Boston non-profits:

  1. Boston HOPE at the Boston Convention and Expo Center; 500 books
  2. Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program in the South End; 237 books
  3. Pine Street Inn at Suffolk University; and Dorchester Family Engagement Network; 300 books
  4. Black Seed Writers Group, Boston; 100 books
  5. Kennedy Center, which provides services to children, families & elders in Charlestown; 75 books
  6. Women’s Lunch Place; 50 books
  7. St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Dorchester; 50 books
  8. Standish Village, Senior Residency in Lower Mills; 50 books
  9. Elizabeth Stone House, a domestic violence shelter in Roxbury; 30 books

The Library is in the process of reaching out to other nonprofit organizations and expects to provide books to additional organizations in the coming weeks as more hear about the opportunity.

To date, the Library has spent nearly $14,000 at local booksellers, purchasing books from Trident Booksellers in downtown Boston, Frugal Books in Roxbury, Brookline Booksmith, and Cambridge's Porter Square Books.  

The Boston Public Library Fund is raising money to purchase additional books to help reach the Library's goal of 5,000 books.  For more information visit