Our Programs

Building Home Libraries

Through our flagship Building Home Libraries program, The Children’s Book Bank provides children from birth through kindergarten with home libraries containing a collection of age-appropriate books. We serve every Head Start child in Multnomah County in addition to local preschool programs that help children develop pre-reading skills such as recognizing the look and sounds of letters; reading from top to bottom and left to right; and understanding how letters make words, words make sentences, and sentences make stories.  

You can find a list of our literacy partners here.


A child from a low-income family enters first grade with an average of only 25 hours of one-to-one picture book reading, compared with 1,000 to 1,700 hours for a child from a typical middle-class home.*  

Families who received books through our Building Home Libraries program reported increasing time spent reading together each week, using reading time to grow closer to their child, and engaging in talk and questions with their child while reading together. Learn more in our annual report.


School-Age Program

This program provides Elementary and K-8 underserved schools with thousands of age-appropriate books with which to host free, school-wide books fairs each June. These books help promote continued learning over the summer months in order to combat the “summer slide,” a time when children living in poverty often lose gains made over the school year and fall behind their higher-income peers. With a stack of self-selected books with which to continue reading over the summer, skills gained during the school year can be maintained and enhanced, rather than declining and creating a growing divide.

You can find a list of our literacy partners here.


Studies show that students who do not read over the summer will lose more than two months of reading achievement each year.  This loss can accumulate to a 2 year achievement gap by the 6th grade.*

Students who received books through our School-Age Program reported feeling more confident in themselves as readers when they returned to school in the fall.