The National Book Foundation announced DIBS for Kids as the winner of the 2020 Innovations in Reading Prize, a $10,000 prize annually awarded to an individual or organization that has developed an innovative project that creates and sustains a lifelong love of reading. Chosen from a pool of almost one hundred applications, DIBS for Kids is a Nebraska-based literacy nonprofit founded by a former first-grade teacher with the aim of bringing in-home reading opportunities to all 46 elementary schools in the Omaha Public Schools district that have a poverty rate of over 70%.
“Access is first and foremost when working to ensure that all young people have an opportunity to become lifelong readers,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “DIBS for Kids’ creative technological approach to meeting young people where they are and ensuring access to physical books for home use helps to remind how important it is that reading is not seen as a separate, siloed school activity, but also as a meaningful, joyful part of our everyday lives.”
“DIBS for Kids is incredibly honored to receive the 2020 Innovations in Reading Prize,” said David Orrick, Founder, Executive Director of DIBS for Kids. “At DIBS for Kids we believe that nightly in-home reading has the unique potential to impact students’ lives, yet 61% of students growing up in poverty don’t have access to a single age appropriate book in their home. While elementary teachers are aware of this problem and often try to piece together their own solutions, DIBS for Kids helps them in a critical way, providing schools with an innovative, student-led software technology that builds student excitement for reading and helps teachers send home over 80 books with each student, every school year. This award from the National Book Foundation reinforces the critical importance of in-home reading for all children. We couldn’t be more grateful to be this year’s Innovations in Reading Prize recipient.”
“Through these selections for the 2020 winner and honorable mentions of the Innovations in Reading Prize we see how much that community-driven work is valued, said David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “The National Book Foundation is pleased to provide support to these organizations via the Innovations in Reading Prize and aid in their efforts to support learning, and connect the public with books and each other.”
In addition to the winner, the Innovations in Reading Prize also identifies honorable mentions each year, with a prize of $1,000 awarded to each. This year’s recipients are Bookleggers Library and Libros Para el Viaje, a project of Casa Camino Real bookstore. Both of these organizations reflect growing enthusiasm for community-driven efforts in the literary world. Libros Para el Viaje, of Casa Camino Real bookstore, art gallery, and community resource center located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, 42 miles from the U.S./México border, is an effort dedicated to book distribution to refugee, migrant, and asylum families at the border. Bookleggers Library in Miami is a nonprofit, mobile community library focused on books as a conduit for community exchange; they also run events and parties at rotating venues once a month and give away free books to the public.
Since its inception in 2009, the annual Innovations in Reading Prize has provided $129,000 to a total of 48 winners and honorable mentions. Past winners of the Innovations in Reading Prize include Little Free Library, Barbershop Books, and, most recently, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children. More information on all of the recipients can be found on our website.