2020 World Literacy Award Presented to Little Free Library

By Margret Aldrich

A Little Free Library book-sharing box in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

We are honored to receive the 2020 World Literacy Award for Little Free Library’s significant contribution to global literacy. The award was presented to our nonprofit organization by the World Literacy Foundation at the online World Literacy Summit.

Andrew Kay, CEO of the World Literacy Foundation, explains that this award aims to celebrate the work and impact of Little Free Library around the globe. Mr. Kay said, “In the current crisis, literacy has never been more important with the disadvantaged children lacking access to books and educational resources. Today, 91% of children are not currently attending school.”

Little Free Library inspires a love of reading and improves book access by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. With more than 100,000 registered book-sharing boxes in over 100 countries, Little Free Library helps to exchange tens of millions of books annually. 

“It is an honor to be recognized by the World Literacy Foundation for Little Free Library’s work in expanding book access,” said Greig Metzger, Little Free Library’s executive director. “The timing of this announcement couldn’t be any better as this is Volunteer Appreciation Week in the US. For without our wonderful volunteer stewards supporting our network here at home and across the globe, none of this would be possible.” 

“That is not to say the job is done, because we have more to do,” Metzger continued. “The world continues to have places where access to books is limited by one’s home address.” 

This Little Free Library is found in Khartoum, Sudan.

It is reported that two out of three children living in poverty have no books to call their own, and children growing up in homes without books are on average three years behind children in homes with lots of books. Little Free Library strives to place libraries where they can benefit underserved youth through our Impact Library Program, an initiative that grants no-cost little libraries full of books to selected applicants. 

“We believe that access to books should not be limited to where you live, rather, we believe that book access, the opportunity to read and to grow to one’s full potential is a right, not a privilege,” said Metzger.

Worldwide 770 million people cannot read a single word, while another 2 billion people struggle to read a full sentence. Illiteracy is a global crisis, and the World Literacy Foundation educates people on the benefit of acquiring even basic literacy skills. The cycle begins with a child struggling to read, professing into an adult who struggles with literacy and as a result becomes a victim of issues relating to unemployment, crime and well-being.

Community members around a Little Free Library in Berre-les-Alpes, France.

Thank you to the World Literacy Foundation for this honor—and thank you to our amazing volunteer stewards for bringing the Little Free Library network to every corner of the globe!

To learn how you can start a Little Free Library book-sharing box in your community, start here!

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