Book Rich Environments

Bringing a vibrant culture of books to public housing communities

A nationwide effort launches to turn ‘book deserts’ into literary oases.

Los Angeles Times

Book Rich Environments logo Book Rich Environments is a tri-sector collaboration between nonprofit organizations, national government agencies, and corporate publishers that aims to infuse public housing communities across the country with a vibrant and accessible culture of books. The initiative connects families living in public housing communities with reading-related resources, working to improve opportunities and outcomes for public housing residents.

National Book Foundation serves as the project lead, with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Education, the Urban Libraries Council, and the National Center for Families Learning serving as key planning partners. Over 40 HUD-assisted communities across the country serve as local partners, implementing the following three key initiative components:

  • Book Distribution – free, high quality, diverse books provided to children and families living in HUD-assisted housing.
  • Library Engagement – young people and families engaged in the love of reading and connected with the ongoing literacy activities offered by the local public library.
  • Partnership Building – strategic partnerships on the local level, established between the local public housing authority, the local library, and local literacy partners to develop and deliver ongoing community and educational programming.

The program has been made possible through the generous book donations provided by: Candlewick Press, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Sourcebooks.

For more details, email Education Programs Manager, Andy Donnelly.

For 2020, Book Rich Environments has partnered with 43 HUD-assisted communities to build a strong, vibrant population of readers across the country.


Akron, OH
Albuquerque, NM
Anishinaabe Reservations, MN
Atlanta, GA
Billings, MT
Boulder, CO
Brownsville, TX
Cambridge, MA
Chandler, AZ
Cincinnati, OH
Contra Costa County, CA
Durham, NC
Fort Wayne, IN
Fresno, CA
Gregory, TX
Harlingen, TX
Houston, TX
Kansas City, MO
Lincoln, NE
Los Angeles, CA
Louisville, KY
Marin County, CA
Nampa, ID
Nashville, TN
New Bedford, MA
New York, NY
Phenix City, AL
Phoenix, AZ
Pocatello, ID
Portland, OR
Rapid City, SD
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
San Joaquin County, CA
San Mateo County, CA
Sarasota, FL
Springfield, MA
Stanislaus County, CA
Roanoke, VA
Tacoma, WA
Tampa, FL
Topeka, KS
Washington, DC

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