03 Mar

United Way Hosts 11th Children’s Book Drive

United Way of Rhode Island Hosts 11th Children's Book Drive from April 1 - May 24

Rhode Islanders invited to support the effort that's put 272,210 books in the hands of children statewide

Providence, R.I. (March 3, 2023) United Way of Rhode Island's Children's Book Drive is returning for its tenth year. From April 1 - May 24, United Way is once again partnering with Women United and Books Are Wings to help Rhode Island children build their own libraries at home.

Rhode Islanders are invited to buy and ship books, drop off new and gently used books at a community collection site, or host a drive with their family, friends, or coworkers.

For more information, view our Children's Book Drive 2023 Frequently Asked Questions below.

What is the Children's Book Drive?

The Children’s Book Drive is a collaborative effort between United Way of Rhode Island, Women United, and Books Are Wings to engage local businesses, community organizations, individuals, and families in fostering a love of reading while encouraging children to build their own libraries at home.

This will be our eleventh year collecting books. Over the past ten years, we’ve put 272,210 books into the hands of children statewide.

When is the Children’s Book Drive 2022?

This year’s Book Drive will take place in April and May, ending just in time for summer learning. Individual collections can run for any length of time during April and May – a few days, a few weeks, or an entire month.

Why is the Children’s Book Drive important?
  • Children who are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school than proficient readers, profoundly affecting their future earnings.
  • Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS) 2021–2022 Grade 3 data reported that only 36.5% of all students met or exceeded expectations in Reading skills. Among students from under-resourced households, it was 19.5%. By race, 47.6% of white students, 22.3% of Black students, 19.3% of Hispanic students, and 12.3% of American Indian students met or exceeded expectations. Source: RIDE, www3.ride.ri.gov/ADP#
  • Children in low-income families have fewer reading materials and for many, there are zero books in the home. Early access to books is critical to successful reading development and summer reading can help close the reading achievement gap.
What types of books are needed?

New and gently used books for children — from babies to middle school — are welcome. We are not able to accept books for adults, reference books, textbooks, workbooks, cookbooks, discarded library books, or mildewed/damaged books.

Buy and ship

Companies can give employees the option to order books through Amazon. Employees can choose one of their favorite books or order from Books Are Wings’ Wishlist and have them shipped directly to us.

What should I collect books in?

Copy paper boxes with lids are ideal — they’re eco-friendly, free, and stackable for easy storage.

Where are the books going?

Books will be distributed at Books Are Wings programs and summer partner sites. To learn more about United Way’s education priorities, please visit www.unitedwayri.org.

How can I promote my drive?

We have a customizable communications toolkit, including posters and flyers. Once you have registered to host a drive, contact bookdrive@unitedwayri.org and we’ll email the materials to you.

For Companies: Book Pickup Day

Book Pick-Up Day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24, 2023. For companies who are partners in United Way’s Annual Workplace Campaign, we will pick up your books when your drive has ended. Let us know how many books you’ve collected and we’ll schedule a time for pick up. Not a campaign partner? Please drop off your books at United Way on Tuesdays from April 11 - May 30, 2023.


What is United Way’s Day of Action? Can I volunteer?

Day of Action is a worldwide United Way event, offering volunteer opportunities focused on the work of local United Way organizations. In Rhode Island, the Day of Action will be held on June 3, 2023, with shifts from 9 a.m. - noon and 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. to sort, label, and prepare the books for distribution to children in summer learning and afterschool programs.

Sign up at uwriweb.org/DayofAction2023 or contact volunteer@unitedwayri.org.

Collection Sites

Rhode Island



East Providence 


  • Island Books, 575 E. Main Rd., Wyatt Square, Middletown, RI 02842




West Warwick



*Cardi's locations will be collecting books until May 20.