The POP Project finds new homes for used books.
An Asheville, NC-based nonprofit, the POP (Pages Opening People) Project collects secondhand books to redistribute within communities in Western North Carolina and across the Southeast. It’s a mission not only to find new homes for the books, but to make “homes” for people who might otherwise not have access to books.
“Growing up, books were always a part of my home. Even when we may have had to cut back on other things, books were always a necessity, like bread or milk,” said Sarah Giavedoni, POP’s director of donations. “When I learned that there are homes in my community that have no books, or people who for one reason or another cannot get a library card, I knew I had to get involved. I can’t imagine living in a home without books. It just wouldn’t feel like home to me.”
POP donates to community libraries and shelters “so that people in between housing can feel more at home during their transition,” said Giavedoni. They also donate to children’s schools and programs, housing communities, churches, nonprofit organizations, and inmates in local and state corrections systems.
Since they began in 2009, POP has given over 15,000 books back to the community. But they see their work as just beginning. “I could quote study after study regarding inmate populations and reading levels; I could tell you stories about kids never owning a single book of their own until they are entering our court system,” said MacKenzie.
Many studies have shown that literacy levels are directly related to how many books children have in their homes, even from a very early age. And literacy levels have been shown to not only affect your chances of entering the corrections system, but in becoming a repeat offender. “That’s why we donate to such a variety of organizations,” said Giavedoni. “We want to make sure that as many people of every age can find books, and grow through books, as we can.” POP believes in the power of reading to create a better life.
There are still many people in the Asheville area in need. And POP believes that now is a better time than ever to press forward, in part because of their motto: Because everyone deserves a good book.
The POP Project is a volunteer-led organization, and it’s members each consider their contributions to be “a labor of love.” POP is always looking for dedicated donors, more volunteers, and new outlets to distribute books.