Free Book Bus

CHARLOTTESVLE, VA   |  http://www.freebookbus.com

Mission

The first mission of The Free Book Bus is to enable all children and young adults ages 0-20 to have a home library. We focus primarily on those who cannot easily afford or access books. Our second mission is general reading encouragement - we visit public events and give away books to all those who visit the Bus.

Ruling year info

2018

Principal Officer

Sharon B Stone

Main address

PO BOX 5025

CHARLOTTESVLE, VA 22905 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

83-2436210

NTEE code info

Remedial Reading, Reading Encouragement (B92)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Free Book Bus was established in 2018. During that time, we have worked to establish a network of schools and organizations to partner with. The pandemic has increased the need for books, especially with most schools operating virtually. We are now planning school visits for 2021-2022. We would like to strategize ways to consolidate multiple visits in one day. The Free Book Bus considering a fixed schedule of stops. Currently, we are still operating and visiting places such as homeless shelters, Boys & Girls Clubs, and preschools. We have given out 7,500 books during the pandemic, and we continue to operate!

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Free Book Bus Service Area

Currently, we serve the areas of Charlottesville City, Albemarle, and Nelson Counties in Virginia.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of adults who received literacy services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups

Related Program

The Free Book Bus Service Area

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of books distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Ethnic and racial groups, Family relationships, Social and economic status

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Many families would like to own more books, but they don’t always have a working vehicle or access to a library or bookmobile stop. The Free Book Bus hopes to fill in these gaps in access and affordability by bringing books to people in places they already frequent, such as public events, community centers, food pantries, and schools.

Free Book Bus guests range from infants to senior citizens, including many individuals living under the poverty level, refugees, and those who are experiencing homelessness. Our goals for long-term impact are to improve literacy and encourage a love of reading in those we welcome onto the bus. Helping people build home libraries can have a huge effect on those families who do not have easy access to books.

We focus on low-income, minority, and rural children and young adults (ages 0-20) in Charlottesville and Albemarle and Nelson counties. Many of the children who visit the bus speak English as a second language. We work to connect with both these children and their families by providing books in their native language. The Free Book Bus tailors the selection of books for every stop. Places we have given books away include: schools. food pantries, ESOL classes, local adult and family shelters, and Boys & Girls Clubs. It is delightful to see the enthusiasm and wonder of Free Book Bus guests of all ages as they visit the bus and and understand that they can choose their own books, that they can keep the books, and that there is no charge.

2020 presented a set of unique challenges for The Free Book Bus. As the pandemic got more serious in March, I started to wonder if I was going to have to park the bus indefinitely. That was a depressing possibility, but I knew I couldn’t continue inviting kids onto the bus. For most of April and May, I took boxes of individually bagged books to schools and food pantries. However, bagging individual books ended up being inefficient, and I was using a large quantity of plastic bags.

In May of 2020, I began to think about how I could get back out into the community in a safe way, especially to reach kids who were attending school virtually. I spent a lot of time researching ways to slide books out of the bus from a distance. One afternoon, I realized that the 10’ long slide on our old jungle gym might work as a book ramp. I hauled it up our hill, pressure-washed it, and attached a foam “landing pad” for books. The book slide officially went into action on June 12th, 2020. It has been a huge success with little kids, teenagers, and adults!

Since our first book drop-off during the pandemic (16 books to the women staying at PACEM’s shelter at The Haven on March 19th), to the present, we have given out more than 7,500 books and served over 2,800 people. We are so pleased to have found ways to continue serving the community during COVID-19.

We are building a network of diverse volunteers by connecting with local scout troop, UVA students, and community members who are interested in our mission. During spring semester 2021, a group of University of Virginia students from a consulting group affiliated with 180 Degrees Consulting crafted a strategic plan for us. The Free Book Bus added two board members in 2020, one of whom is helping Sharon research grant opportunities. The bus is in great mechanical shape, and we look forward to increasing our stops and areas of coverage in 2021 and 2022.

A brief history of The Free Book Bus:

November 3rd, 2018: After launching the website/Facebook in October, had the first book giveaway (with a table of books) at the food pantry at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Batesville
November 27th, 2018: received our 501(c)(3) determination letter
December 15th, 2018: Nelson County Pantry - at our first event with the Bus, we gave away 461 books to families and children of all ages.
May 4th, 2019: First large public event at Ix Park - people lined up to get on the Bus for almost four hours and we gave out 530 books
September 7th, 2019 - after an event at Sunrise Community Park in Charlottesville, we reached a milestone of 5,001 books given out!
December 11th, 2019 - first stop at PACEM shelter for men at Portico Church. This was an experiment, but very well-received. We continue to visit both the men and women at various PACEM shelters.
April 17th, 2020: we reached a milestone of 10,000 books given away
November 2020: we celebrated our two-year anniversary
January 30th, 2020 - gave out 894 books to all 431 students at Tye River Elementary, and hit a new record for books
given out in one day!
March 2020-present - we figured out how to operate safely during the pandemic, and continued to visit schools, homeless shelters, food pantries, and clubs to give away books.

Moving forward, we hope to expand our reach into surrounding areas, continue to establish regular stops, and engage more with refugee populations.

Financials

Free Book Bus
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Free Book Bus

Board of directors
as of 8/24/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sharon Stone

The Free Book Bus

Term: 2018 -

Ellen Bouton

National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Anne Chapin

University of Virginia

Julia Shields

Independent Bookkeeper

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/16/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/16/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.