The Bright Red Bookshelf

A community project to cycle gently used children's books

The Bright Red Bookshelf- Fort Collins, Colorado

 girl holding book

"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass

 The Bright Red Bookshelf program recirculates gently used children's books back into the community where they are made available free for families to own. Books are collected through book drives organized by service groups, congregations and campus organizations. These books are sorted, cleaned and affixed with a label, then set out on bright red bookshelves at sites where children who need and want them will have easy access to them.


  • Increase book ownership by families, particularly in low-resource homes.
  • Encourage parent-child interactions with books.
  • Involve community members in this literacy effort through book donations.
  • Enhance the services of organizations serving as bookshelf hosts by providing books to the families they already serve.
  • Keep books circulating in the community so that "no children's book is ever lonely".

Book ownership is important in fostering an interest in reading and a love for books. If parents are to read to their children, they need the books to do so. Children feel pride in owning their own books. They develop confidence in reading and acquire mastery when books are easily within reach and can be read again and again.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss

Click here for a printable pdf of our General Informational Brochure 

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The Bright Red Bookshelf was created by the Family Reading Partnership in Ithaca, NY in 1997.