Pocket Libraries

Pocket Libraries puts books in the hands of readers without bookshelves of their own. We collect adoptable books and donate them to nonprofits and agencies across the Puget Sound that serve people who are homeless, refugees and immigrants, and others who don’t have easy access to books.

Launched by Seattle7Writers in 2010, Pocket Libraries has delivered more than 34,000 books to readers of all ages — grown-ups, kids, teens, and families. We are very grateful to Third Place Books Ravenna, Phinney Books, and the Seattle Review of Books, the independent booksellers and reviewers who partner with us to make sure advance copies find their way to readers, instead of the recycling bin.

And extra thanks to the Phinney Neighborhood Association, which sponsors Pocket Libraries with a generous donation of space to store and sort books until they find their forever(ish) homes.

How can I help?

Pocket Libraries is managed by Megan Tully, Kristin Dahlquist, and Dawn McCarra Bass and brought to life by a cohort of amazing volunteers. Want to help? Email us at hello@pocketlibraries.org.

Donate.

We’re always accepting donations of advance review copies and adoptable used books. What’s an “adoptable” book? It’s a book you’d be happy to have on your own shelf. It’s in good condition — clean and well bound. It’s interesting — maybe not to you, but you bet it will be to someone else.

Cookbooks, genre fiction, readable nonfiction, and YA, middle grade, and kidlit are very welcome. Tech manuals from five years ago need not apply.

Volunteer.

We’re one hundred percent volunteer run. Our stalwart sorters meet every other month to divvy up donations for delivery. Other volunteers are bookrunners — shepherding boxes of books to their new homes.

Our volunteer team is powered by book talk, ARCs, and sometimes beer (or the beverage of your choice). We’d love to see you at our next sorting!

Step up for someone else.

There are a lot of great programs in this city that get books where they’re needed. Right now, Books to Prisoners, which delivers books to more than TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE every year, is looking for a new home. Got a lead for them? Let them know.

Where do the books go?

We are currently delivering books to Recovery Cafe, West Seattle Food Bank, Treehouse, University District Food Bank, DESC, and the Refugee Women’s Alliance. Want to be on the list? Email us and let us know.

Where do the books come from?

Recent donors include:

Phinney Books

Third Place Books Ravenna

Seattle Review of Books

Seattle7Writers

We’re your biggest fans.

We’re huge fans of these other, and wonderful, groups that are making sure everyone who wants a book has one.

Books to Prisoners

Friends of Seattle Public Libraries

In addition to their support of the Seattle Public Libraries, Friends of SPL supplies books to librarians who distribute them to local shelters. So cool.

Seattle Public Libraries Fresh Start Program

Kids run up fines. Not all families can pay them. The Fresh Start Program wipes the slate clean for teenage readers.

Thank you, Seattle7Writers!

Pocket Libraries was founded by Kit Bakke under Seattle7Writers and transformed from idea into reality by the commitment and dedication of Kit, Jennie Shortridge, Garth Stein, Erica Bauermeister, Dave Boling, and Kitty Harmon (who most recently led the program). Long-term volunteers David Laskin, Clare Meeker, Tara Weaver, Sean Beaudoin, Thea Cooper, Randy Sue Coburn, Stevie Kallos, and Brent Hartinger made the program a success through many hours sorting books, delivering boxes, and building relationships with bookstores, donors, and agencies.