The Best Charity You’ve Never Heard of Has Created 12,000 Libraries Around the World


As people who love to read more than pretty much anything, we think Room to Read, a charity founded by ex-Microsoft marketing director John Wood that builds libraries and donates books to children all over the world, is pretty much the best idea we’ve ever heard of. As the New York Times points out, legendary philanthropist Andrew Carnegie has been much celebrated for his construction of over 2,500 libraries worldwide, but Room to Read has opened more than five times that number, though many of them are simple rooms with one distinguishing factor: books where there were none before. Not only that, but Room to Read is opening new branches at the insane speed of six a day, which we admit we can’t quite fathom.

Not only is Room to Read creating libraries for children who otherwise would have no way to get their hands on books, they’ve also become publishers, creating books specifically for children in countries where the children’s book industry doesn’t exist. So far, the charity has published 591 titles in many languages including Khmer, Nepalese, Zulu, Lao, Xhosa, Chhattisgarhi, Tharu, Tsonga, Garhwali and Bundeli. “In 20 years,” Wood told the Times , “I’d like to have 100,000 libraries, reaching 50 million kids. Our 50-year goal is to reverse the notion that any child can be told ‘you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time and so you will not get educated.’ That idea belongs on the scrapheap of human history.” Bravo.

[via The New York Times]