Press Releases: September 05, 2014

United Way of Greater Houston Launches Tiny Libraries

United Way of Greater Houston Launches Tiny Libraries

Early-career professionals build and decorate libraries for lower-income children

Houston (Sept. 5, 2014) – Fifty brightly painted wooden structures brimming with free books will soon pop up in  lower-income neighborhoods across  the Houston area providing children with easy access to reading materials. On Friday, more than 100 early-career professionals in United Way’s new group LINC – Lead, Impact, Network, Change – built, decorated and provided books to stock Tiny Libraries, which will be located at United Way affiliated agencies and local elementary schools for use by area children.

In Houston, more than 60 percent of lower-income families do not have books at home for their children and less than half of all third-graders have the reading skills necessary to succeed in the fourth-grade. We know that children who don’t have access to books – at home or in the community – have difficulty developing basic readings skills, such as letter and word recognition and comprehension, which are critical to academic success. In addition, research shows that children who can’t read proficiently by the fourth-grade lag behind their peers and often don’t catch up. 

In middle-income neighborhoods, there are 13 books for every child. The corresponding ratio in lower-income neighborhoods is one book for every 300 children. Tiny Libraries can make a difference by putting books in the hands of children. 

United Way LINC is a new group that brings together young professionals 30 and under for the greater good with volunteer projects, speaker events and networking. The group will harness their power to make a positive impact on our community. Members will help by volunteering their time and by making an annual gift of $250 or more to United Way.

Tiny Libraries resemble oversized birdhouses but are much bigger. They are placed in neighborhoods where families and their children can’t afford to purchase books or don’t have access to a library. Tiny Libraries work based on a “take one, leave one” concept so readers can borrow a book and leave a book to share with others. Each library holds approximately 50 books. 

United Way affiliate agencies and local elementary schools will have homeownership of a Tiny Library. They will be responsible for its placement and ensuring it is stocked with books and functional. United Way will provide age-appropriate books for the libraries and repair libraries as needed.

About the United Way of Greater Houston: 
For more than 90 years, United Way of Greater Houston has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives, tackling key community social issues and making a lasting difference. Last year, United Way of Greater Houston touched the lives of more than 2.4 million of our neighbors in the Bay Area and in Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery and Waller counties. United Way focuses on strengthening our community by developing children and youth to their full potential, creating strong families and safe neighborhoods, sustaining senior independence and rebuilding people’s lives. United Way of Greater Houston is the best way to make the biggest difference in our community, changing Houston for good. For information, please visit, http://www.unitedwayhouston.org. ;

CONTACT:     Renée C. Lee, Media Manager
                       United Way of Greater Houston
OFFICE:         713-685-2380
CELL:             281-536-2405
EMAIL:           rlee@unitedwayhouston.org