Joey Mathis is a First Book Marketing and Communication intern. She is currently an undergrad student at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, each year the average public school teacher spends over $500 of their own money on necessary supplies and books for their classroom. Even more, teachers serving low-income students are more likely to spend out-of-pocket dollars than their counterparts in higher-income schools. According to a First Book survey, more educators spent over $1,000 from their own wallet last year than those spending less than $100 or none at all, and nearly 60 percent of educators spent between $100 and $500. While the problem of educational equity starts with policymakers, the impact is felt by educators and students, leaving many classrooms and programs without essential resources. First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise working to ease this burden by providing brand-new, high-quality books, school supplies, and other resources at affordable prices (and sometimes for free!) to educators and program leaders working in low-income communities.
Title I eligible schools, libraries, community organization, and other programs who serve children in need are qualified to join the First Book Network and access exclusive member benefits. Currently, the First Book Network is made up of over 525,000 incredible educators making a difference in their communities every day (with nearly 800 new members joining each week). In case closing the equity gap for children in need isn’t reason enough, here are six additional reason eligible educators should check out the First Book Marketplace and become a member for free!
Why You Should Join Our Growing Network
1. An incredible selection of brand-new books at the lowest possible price!
A major part of First Book’s mission is to create educational equity by providing books to communities that need them most. By working directly with publishers and aggregating the purchasing power of our unique Network, First Book is able to offer an enormous selection of brand-new, high quality books (including new releases on popular titles) at the lowest possible price. Thanks to generous donations from our publishing partners, some titles are even offered for free through our one-of-a-kind Book Bank— members just pay the cost of shipping and handling.
2. More Than Just Books
Over the years, the First Book Marketplace has expanded to provide more than books to support a variety of student needs. Members can find great deals on school supplies, digital learning resources, educational activities, and more! First Book is dedicated to countering all barriers to education, including basic needs and adaptive and inclusive resources to help support students with different learning needs.
3. Diverse Options + Free Resources
Representation in books matters. First Book has an intentional and consistent commitment to providing access to affordable books that promote diversity and boost empathy and understanding among students. Explore First Book’s Stories for All Project™ to find a combination of Special Edition print runs and carefully curated titles that represent diverse races, cultures, and lifestyles. By connecting educators and students with this vast collection of affordable and diverse books, we hope to create enthusiastic and empathetic readers.
Educators also have access to free resources, for themselves and for their students, that help them prioritize diversity and inclusion in the classroom. The Empowering Educators Toolbox shares tips and best practices about how to facilitate conversations about race, while the Diversity and Inclusion Calendar can be used almost daily to observe and celebrate diverse days of significance. Explore all our free resources on the Marketplace.
4. Promo Codes, Grants, and Funding Opportunities
As a member of First Book’s Network, you will regularly receive emails with announcements about opportunities sponsored by First Book’s partners, where you can receive books and resources for free! With 94% of educators spending their own money on school supplies, funding from our partners help provide financial support to Title I schools and other eligible programs. Many funding opportunities are available to members on a first-come, first-served basis so be sure to act quick when you see the announcements.
5. Free Events and Live Readings
Through our amazing partnerships, First Book gives our Network access to lots of amazing events like author readings, webinars to learn new skills, themed events, and more. Educators can gain access to these events for themselves and their classrooms by signing up for email notifications and following First Book on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter). All events are free and exclusive to our Network and we provide this opportunity to help enrich classroom opportunities for students who may not otherwise have the opportunity. Typically, educators can take advantage of associated funding, promo codes, or gift credits that support the events.
6. Voice of the Educator
The development of First Book’s resources directly correlates to the research conducted by First Book’s Research & Insights team. As part of First Book’s Network, you can share your voice and give relevant feedback on new resources developed for our educators. You can participate in research ventures, focus groups, and surveys based on your personal experience. In return, you have a direct impact on the tools and resources that First Book and its partners develop for children and educators.
Ready to Join?
Become a member of the First Book Network for free today to start taking advantage of these incredible benefits! Creating an account takes about five minutes. If you have any questions about First Book or need assistance signing up, please feel welcome to contact our friendly Member Services team at 1-866-READ-NOW or firstname.lastname@example.org.