Book Buddies

 Founded in 2014 by Jane Welch, Book Buddies is now a program of the SAISD Foundation. 

Book Buddies provides free books for SAISD students in grades PK-8, allowing them to start and grow their own libraries at home. The program provides engaging, grade-level appropriate reading materials for children to read at critical times, like after school and in the summer. Book Buddies organizes drives to collect children’s books throughout San Antonio and the surrounding area.  Since 2017 the international book reseller, Better World Books, has donated tens of thousands of books which volunteers sort and box up for distribution. SIGN UP AS A BOOK BUDDIES VOLUNTEER NOW HERE!

Last year, Book Buddies served children in 20 SAISD schools, distributing 65,000 books to nearly 11,000 students-

that’s 6 books that each child gets to hand pick.

As a Title I school district, nearly 90% of San Antonio ISD students are economically disadvantaged—almost double the poverty rate when compared to the average Texas student.  Because of this, many of the children in the Title I schools where Book Buddies is active come from homes with few or no books.

In past years, Book Buddies’ annual “Book Celebrations” provided books to each child in these schools.  The intent is to limit the “summer slide” children tend to experience when not in school, enabling them to become readers for pleasure and proud book owners. Additionally, others in the family and neighborhood may read the books, thus multiplying the effects of the initial gift.  The ultimate goal is to eliminate those “book deserts” in San Antonio by flooding neighborhoods with children’s books. In the 2020-21 school year, these book celebrations will take place before Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break and Summer Break, allowing us to serve more schools and children.

In the summer of 2020, we partnered with the San Antonio ISD transportation and library services department to plan a “Roll into Reading” tour, allowing us to distribute over 16,000 books to families living in the district. Learn more about this effort in this San Antonio Express News article.

Now, during the 2020-2021 School Year, Book Buddies is on track to deliver to students at 35,000 campuses before every major school break and throughout the summer, bringing the projected total distribution to 100,000 books annually.

Click HERE to watch our Book Buddies celebrity readers series

New in the 2020-school year, Book Buddies is now coordinating the installation of Little Free Libraries at campuses across the district. Thank you to the students in the Lanier Construction program who are crafting these beautiful libraries, to Joeris Contractors for donating all the materials, and to the SAISD Facilities team for safely installing them. Book Buddies then provides a starter set of books appropriate for k-8 readers.

We can’t wait to see how students at each campus customize their library with paint donated by the SAISD Foundation!

Students paint their little free library at Herff Academy, December 2020

Calling all Book Lovers- We need You!

Share your love of reading by helping kids in SAISD. With the help of volunteers like you Book Buddies delivers thousands of books to campuses across San Antonio. 

1) GENERAL VOLUNTEERS sign up for a specific day to help us sort and box books for kids in SAISD. Pick your day and get started HERE.

2) LEADS work with small groups of volunteers monthly or quarterly to show them how to sort and prepare books for kids in SAISD. Email jgeelhoed@saisdfoundation.com if you would like to train to be a lead. Make a difference and receive free books, Whataburger and SAISD Foundation gear too!

Thank you to our generous supporters!

Book Buddies is made possible thanks to the support of Better World Books, Port San Antonio, the Najim Charitable Foundation, The Frankie Casseb Youth Literacy Club (FCYLC), Literati, The Texas Cavaliers, EcoBox, and Whataburger.
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