BOISE, Idaho — When the pandemic hit, North Junior High librarian Kate Baker's passion for connecting students with books was gone.
After learning that not all of her students have access to books or even owned a book, Baker created the Boise Bookshelf Project.
"I was talking with students who maybe didn't have access to books that other kids might have," said Baker. "So, whether they don't have the ability to download a book or order one online and have it delivered, whether they don't have access to the public library I wanted to try and get those books into their hands."
The project is an online website for families to shop all genres of books at no cost because as a prior English and now a librarian, Baker has seen first hand how books can help kids.
"Studies show that if you have books in your house your kids are 15 times more likely to read a book at grade level if you have books in your home," said Baker. "Book ownership has a huge impact on academic success.
Her goal is for every child to own a book they can read.
"It’s just that joy of book ownership and the benefits of book ownership. I want every kid to have that possibility," said Baker. "I want every kid to be able to sit in their room when the world is just too much, to be able to look over and see a pile of gateways into better worlds or different worlds and the possibilities.”
Over the past several months, Baker has received donations of like-new and new books to build the library for families to shop.
"I would hear things like 'I don't think anyone in my home has ever owned a book before,' and 'Really? I get to keep this book?' and 'You have Wimpy Kid? Oh my gosh!' There was just so much excitement," said Baker. "It was so heart-filling."
To learn more, or to donate your books, click here.