01 Apr

United Way Hosts 10th Children’s Book Drive

United Way of Rhode Island Hosts 10th Children's Book Drive from April 1 - May 25

Rhode Islanders invited to support the effort that's put 245,766 books in the hands of children statewide

A group of friends are sitting at a table in their classroom. They are reading a book together as they smile and laugh.

Providence, R.I. (April 1, 2022) United Way of Rhode Island's Children's Book Drive is returning for its tenth year. From April 1 - May 25, 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 2022 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 tenth year collecting books. Over the past nine years, we’ve put 245,766 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 that period — a few days, a few weeks, or the full two months.

Why is the Children’s Book Drive important?
  • Children who aren't 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) 2020 - 2021 grade 3 data reported that 40.4 percent of all students met or exceeded expectations in reading skills. Among students from low-income households, only 22.6 percent met expectations. Among Black students, 23.7 percent met expectations, and among Hispanic students, only 22.8 percent met expectations. Source: RIDE, www3.ride.ri.gov/ADP#
  • Children in low-income families have fewer reading materials, and many have zero books at home. Early access to books is critical to successful reading development, and summer reading can help close the reading achievement gap.
Where are the books going?

Books will be distributed at Books Are Wings programs and summer partner sites. Learn more about United Way's education priorities

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 adult books, cookbooks, reference books, textbooks, workbooks, 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 Books Are Wings.

What should I collect books in?

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

Collection Sites

Rhode Island


East Providence




West Warwick



Cardi’s Furniture & Mattresses, 999 Newport Avenue South, Attleboro, MA 02703

Cardi's Furniture & Mattresses, 1 Furniture Way, Swansea, MA 02777

How can I promote my drive?

We have a customizable communications toolkit, including posters, flyers, and social media content. Contact bookdrive@unitedwayri.org to let us know you're hosting a drive, and we’ll email the materials to you.

For Companies: Book Pickup Day

Book Pickup Day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25. For companies that 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 pickup.

Not a campaign partner? Please drop off your books at United Way on Tuesdays from April 12 - May 24. Contact bookdrive@unitedwayri.org to schedule a drop-off time.

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 4 to sort, label, and prepare the books for distribution to children in afterschool and summer learning programs.

Sign up at uwriweb.org/DayofAction2022 or contact volunteer@unitedwayri.org.