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Book-Rich Environments Initiative (BRE)

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR), the National Book Foundation (NBF), the Urban
Libraries Council (ULC), the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are joining forces to transform the Public Housing
Authorities (PHAs) into book-rich environments.

The BRE Initiative is a collaboration aimed to transform PHAs into book rich environments by
providing diverse, high quality books and other literacy tools to children and families living in
HUD-assisted housing to improve literacy outcomes and ensure all young people, regardless of
background, have the tools they need to reach their full potential. This work will be done
through partnerships between PHAs, public libraries and other local and national education

Nearly 4 million low-income children are living in HUD-assisted housing across the country.
Improving their educational outcomes is essential to improving their life trajectories and
launching them towards success. BRE hopes to encourage the love of reading and to improve
educational outcomes of children living in HUD-assisted housing in participating communities.


1. Distributing free, high quality, diverse books to children living in HUD-assisted housing.

2. Engaging children and families in the love of reading and literacy activities offered by the
local library and literacy partners.

3. Establishing partnerships between the local PHA, the local public library, and literacy
partners to develop and deliver ongoing programming that will improve the educational
outcomes of PHA residents. 

Major Components and Accomplishments of the BRE

1. Book Distribution - PHAs participating in BRE will partner with the public library in their
community. The library will receive a set of high quality and diverse books, secured by the
National Book Foundation, and donated by national book publishers. The books will be
designated for children who are residents of the local PHA. The number of books delivered
to each site will be determined by that community's needs and capacity (e.g., the number of
HUD-assisted residents in the community and the number of books the library branch can
receive, store, and distribute throughout 2017).

The book distribution launch began in late Spring of 2017 and included three local distribution events in each community. 

• Your Public Library, Your Second Home: Focused on introducing children and families to
the local library and encouraging a love for reading (May-June 2017)
• Summer Fun and Learning: Focused on summer learning and engaging families in
literacy activities outside of the school year (July-August 2017)
• Leap Ahead at Your Library: Focused on going back to school and preparing for success
in the next grade level (October-November 2017)

2. Partnership Building – Participating communities utilized the launch events as a platform
to engage local residents, and establish and maintain partnerships among the staffs of the
local library, the PHA, local and national non-profits and foundations working on literacy,
and the children and families living in HUD-assisted housing. The CGLR is mobilizing anchor
partners including national education programs and the leading housing and education
professional membership organizations that can help support ongoing local partnerships.
Creating strong local partnerships is critical to ensure continued outreach and engagement
of children and families living in HUD-assisted housing. Participating communities can also
leverage existing cross-sector partnerships, such as their local MBK community efforts.

3. Library Engagement - Local libraries engaged kids and families in ongoing visits
and opportunities. They encouraged all children and parents attending the book
distribution event to get a library card for ongoing visits, give attendees a tour and
explanation of all the resources a library has to offer, and encourage families to continue to
utilize the library throughout the year. The library and PHA should also continue to partner
to register families who were not in attendance for library cards and to promote strategies
such as mobile libraries in public housing buildings and summer learning opportunities.

4. Measuring Impact - BRE aims to measure impact and overall success of local efforts. The
BRE partnership will create a common set of indicators that will enable localities to track
progress and tangible outcomes.

Click here to learn more about the Book-Rich Environments Initiative.

Contacts & Communication

General BRE inquiries, Local-Coalition Building and Webinars
Alicia Maldonado, Senior Consultant

Book Donations
Jordan Smith, Director of Education

Library Partnerships
Emily Samose, Director, Education and Learning Initiatives

School District inclusion and After School programming
Jocelyn Logan-Friend, Education Specialist

HUD PHA-related Outreach
Maria-Lana Queen, Liaison for Federal Interagency Youth Initiatives

For more information about BRE communications, BRE/Library partnerships, please contact Maria-Lana Queen at

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