mailbox distribution between volunteer and young boy

The Book Bank and Its Impact

Morgan Bluma is the Marketing and Communications Intern for First Book. She graduated from American University with a double major in Literature and Journalism. 

First Book’s National Book Bank is a great and affordable option for our Network educators serving kids in need, to get a large quantity of brand-new books and resources for free! The books and resources in this section of our Marketplace were donated by our publishing partners with a wide variety of content to fit any reader’s needs. Last year, First Book distributed 10.2 million books from the Book Bank.

Book Bank cartons are available to Network members for only the cost of shipping and handling and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Supplies vary based on popularity, but the First Book team is working hard to continue to fill the Book Bank with new options each week.

mailbox distribution between volunteer and young boy

Helping Create At-Home Libraries

During COVID, educators struggled to keep their students engaged through online learning, but the Book Bank helped teachers tackle this challenge by offering brand new and relevant books to their students that they could take home. Many of the children our Network serves do not have books at home. Based on a study in 2016 by Urban Education, there are a variety of book deserts in low-income communities where one community had what amounts to one book for every 830 children.

Through First Book’s Book Bank, our members have been able to deliver books to the children they serve safely. With students unable to read in their school libraries, the Book Bank provides the opportunity for educators to help their students start their own home libraries. Members have expressed their appreciation for the ability to give their students books to take home. The children then share these stories with their siblings and friends.

“Love First Book. Your Book Bank has allowed me to give my students books during this time of online learning, which they really enjoyed. It helped to make our virtual class a little more normal, as we would read together and discuss the books given. Plus, the students get to keep the books and are starting their own home libraries that the rest of their family can enjoy.”

– Terry S.

Book Clubs, Giveaways & Class Discussions

The Book Bank is also an inexpensive resource for educators to access a large number of high-quality books for large group activities like book clubs and class discussions. Cartons contain about 36 books on average. During COVID, many educators have used Book Bank supplies as giveaways for students, citing a fun way to delight learners while still encouraging meaningful conversations.

“I am thankful every single day that I am able to purchase books from First Book. When I purchase from the Book Bank, I am able to send home books for students to keep and read and then they can share with siblings or friends. I have also been able to purchase Book Bank books to use as class sets for literature circles to have meaningful dialogue between students and spark research into topics that affect them now (and that will affect them in the future).”

– Jennifer H.

How to Use the Book Bank for Your Classroom

Using the Book Bank is easy for First Book members; if you haven’t registered yet, you can get started by checking your eligibility.

Once approved, start shopping on the Marketplace. Any Book Bank items will have a $0 shipping fee at checkout, as the amount you pay already reflects the cost of shipping and handling for Book Bank cartons. If you have any other items from the Marketplace categories in your cart and your order is under $25, you will see a flat rate shipping fee of $7.50 applied to your order. All orders with a subtotal of $25 or more ship for free.

“I’m always so happily surprised at the great deals and wonderful service I receive with First Book!!! I’ve gotten so many wonderful books for my kids for such great deals in the Book Bank! Teaching is so expensive and saving money on quality books that is so AMAZING!!! I could NEVER be able to afford the number of books I’ve already given to my kids just in this school year!”

– Tiffany K.

Join the First Book Network

Educators can join First Book’s network — the largest and fastest-growing network of educators, schools, and programs serving children in need across the United States and Canada — to bring these titles and many more to your classroom. 

image of an educator reading to two kids from a picture book. There is text that says, 'Matching Challenge: Be a Champion for Educators! Your gift by May 31 can go twice as far to provide new, high-quality books and other resources educators need to help students unlock their full potential.' There is a red button in the bottom, right corner that says, 'I'll give now'.