First Book Launches Fundraising Campaign to Replace Libraries Destroyed in Louisiana Floods

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and other publishers to provide new books and resources to public libraries, school libraries, and home libraries across Baton Rouge and surrounding areas

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2016 – First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 150 million books to children in need, is partnering with publishers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a global leader in pre K-12 educational content and services, to replace the Louisiana libraries destroyed in August’s historic floods. At least twenty-two school districts were affected by the floods, with varying degrees of damage.

“We lost everything in our library, as well as all teachers’ personal collections,” said Claire Clickingbeard, a teacher at Tanglewood Elementary in Baton Rouge.

First Book is raising funds via the crowd funding site to restock libraries, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, along with other publishers, have donated a range of new books for children of all ages. Each $1 raised will be matched with a new book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt up to 30,000 books. All funds raised will cover the shipping and handling costs of donated books, and provide additional books from the First Book Marketplace. The First Book Marketplace offers new books and educational resources at deep discounts to schools and programs serving children in need.

“Our school lost its entire library, including all the books in individual classrooms,” said Sarah Batty, a teacher at Denham Springs High School in Livingston Parish. “As I was sorting through the books, I opened a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. This particular book had been handed down through three teaching generations. I saw the ink from the handwritten notes running down the pages…and I lost what little bit of composure I still had left. It was my favorite teacher possession, and there it was dripping in the remains of the river that ran through my school.”

“We’re thrilled to work with our long-time partner First Book on this initiative, which will help to replenish libraries across Louisiana,” said Andrew Russell, senior director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “This donation ensures that students have access to great books and uses the power of crowd-funding to broaden our collective impact.”

“Books and educational resources are especially critical during times of crisis,” said Kyle Zimmer, president & CEO of First Book. “While the floods have been replaced by other headlines, communities are still struggling with the impact. Books offer children the chance to return to familiar routines, visit faraway lands, or share a story at bedtime with a loved one during a difficult time. First Book believes all children deserve equal access to quality educational materials, especially young people affected by these storms. We hope you will join us to reach even more of the educators, librarians, and relief organizations across the Baton Rouge area working to restock shelves across the affected areas.”

First Book promotes educational equality in under-resourced communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. A nonprofit social enterprise, First Book aggregates the voice and purchasing power of educators to create a market-driven solution that is responsive to educator needs, with all resources provided at the lowest possible prices or for free. First Book also recruits third-party funding through individual donors, corporate funders and foundations for schools and programs that have low or no budget for books and other resources.

First Book is eager to work with partners able to support children in the Baton Rouge area, including those interested in donating funds, publishers interested in donating books, and schools/programs needing books. Find out more information at


About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise founded in 1992 that has distributed more than 150 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada, which, with more than 275,000 members, is the largest and fastest growing network of educators exclusively serving kids in need. By making new, high-quality books and educational resources available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at For more information, please visit or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

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