Goodreads and Worldreader

Posted by Elizabeth on December 22, 2015
Last year when we met David Risher of Worldreader, Otis and I were immediately inspired. We had already profiled Worldreader in our newsletter, but we felt that their mission of giving kids ereaders pre-loaded with culturally relevant books made a lot of sense.

One problem facing libraries in Africa is that they end up with a random assortment of books. Does the average 3rd grader in Ghana really want to read out-of-date Encyclopedia Britannicas and adult whodunits? Ideally, a library should be plum full of age-appropriate and culturally relevant books designed to pique and engage young minds. At Worldreader, rather than gathering and shipping thousands of books to seed a library by hand, they send ereaders, which are able to contain many books and are curated to provide maximum impact. Studies have shown that kids learn best through stories, and also when their emotions are triggered. We want to help kids learn.

Worldreader also had significant technical experience that we felt would boost their ability to execute. In addition, once a product is funded, donors can continue to donate to a school to add more books to those existing donated ereaders.

So, this fall Goodreads choose the St. Mary's Girls Boarding Primary School (the only all-girls public school in the Naorak district of Kenya) for our first fundraising effort. If we could raise $10,000 we would be able to provide the school with 50 ereaders, and each of those would be loaded with 100 books. We launched a month-long campaign and asked our fellow employees, friends, and members of the wonderful Goodreads community to donate. Together we were able to hit that $10,000 goal!

This is what their library looked like before:

Now 300 young women will have access to these 50 ereaders, which contain stories such as The Magic Flyswatter, an East African folktale. The school sent us this image and it made us all feel so good. We wanted to share that feeling with all of you since you are just as responsible!

Thanks everyone for your support! Have a wonderful holidays and New Year. And if you ever want to learn about more ways to help promote literacy and education around the world please take a look at our monthly Do Good feature in our newsletter. We are committed to using the awesome power of Goodreads to make the world a better place!

Elizabeth and Otis

Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Becky (new)

Becky This is awesome... I don't remember seeing any information on a fundraiser, and I've never seen the Do Good feature until today either. I probably missed it, but I would love it if stuff like this could be featured somewhere on the site, not just in the blog or newsletter. How do you navigate to the Do Good page without the direct link?

message 2: by Erma (new)

Erma Talamante Wow. It seems there is alot of things going on that I'm only finding out about after the fact...

Kinda makes me feel like I'm out of the loop.

Don't like that feeling.

message 3: by M (new)

M Price Becky wrote: "This is awesome... I don't remember seeing any information on a fundraiser, and I've never seen the Do Good feature until today either. I probably missed it, but I would love it if stuff like this ..."F

Hi Becky, I was thinking the same thing while reading this. I know I've discovered more than I ever thought possible on this amazing site, however I missed this as well. My eyes welled up with tears through reading this post and being upset that I had no idea. I can't help with money because I'm barely staying not homeless which I'm not exaggerating about, but I do have an ereader I'd have given in a heartbeat had I known. Hopefully we'll catch the next one. I'm blown away and adore this site and this community.

All the best to you, Goodreads (Elizabeth & Otis and the entire team), all goodreaders, publishers, authors, to all those whom Goodreads has helped as shown above and Happiest Holidays possible to all. So many people alone during the's so painful so this is something I would have loved to help in some way.

message 4: by Kike (new)

Kike Ramos OMG this is AMAZING! also, another problem with old outdated books is that they can have bacteria and fungus that could cause infection. Grear that you could send those e-readers, that also will help them into getting more familiar with that kind of technology

message 5: by Viollar (new)

Viollar OMG, why didn't i see this? this was an absolutely good course, so close to home and my heart..

I grew up in a school that had limited books too and we had to read mostly outdated books (dated 70's) and articles.

I feel really terrible i missed out on this. All i can say is good job goodreads, Elizabeth & Otis and the entire team. And i will be keeping an eye out for more of your campaigns in the near future.

TheBohemianBookworm Wow! I didn't know this was going on but this is great! I wish I had known about it sooner!

message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Becky wrote: "This is awesome... I don't remember seeing any information on a fundraiser, and I've never seen the Do Good feature until today either. I probably missed it, but I would love it if stuff like this ..."

It's all in an article on the Goodreads voice which you should be able to access from the 'explore' menu

message 8: by Corky (new)

Corky Cobon A book is a journey to be appreciated, loved and remembered. I hope these girls will remember for the rest of their lives the books they are now able to read that they did not have access to before. It makes my heart swell to know that the seed of literacy has taken root. May it long flourish for these girls.

message 9: by Lise (new)

Lise That is really generous that good reads is donating books to a library with almost no books...Everybody has to read at least 40 books in their lifetime

message 10: by Henry (new)

Henry Martin Amazing and very generous.

I must admit that, despite being on GR daily, I have not seen this or any other calls for donations.

message 11: by M (new)

M Price I know the link is in two words at the end of the blog post, but I see a comment or two with mention that it's as unknown to them as it was to me so I wanted to leave the page link for the "Goodreads Do Good" list. I hope it helps others get to it quickly. I also put it in my status update last night.

I know my heart was touched deeply. I've been crying for years from circumstances and weeks that I can't celebrate Christmas for the second year in a row and have nobody to celebrate it with. Wish I at least had a tree, but my worries, and there are enormous worries, pale in comparison to what so many others go through. I cry endlessly everyday and this got SO deeply into my heart I just want to hug Goodreads team for something so extraordinary.

The link to all the goodreads Do Good causes:

Happy Holidays to ALL and endless blessings and joy to the precious children whom Goodreads has done something incredible for. This site and all it has to offer everyone is cherished.

message 12: by Lee (new)

Lee This is just heartwarming to know that a site that impacts so many of us -with it's large variety of books, recommendations, groups, messaging capabilities and so much more- takes the time to ensure that the upcoming generation will love reading and will be undoubtedly smarter than the many generations before them. Like many others this is my fist time hearing about this great initiative never-the-less, I applaud the Goodreads team for their good work. Also, 'you' might not hear this a lot, but thank you, for building such a great site that so many of us come to, to unwind. Even though it's just one school so far, It's enough to give us hope for the future.

Wow, I almost wrote an epistle :)

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Wonderful work Goodreads. I have been following the Goodreads voice and Do-Good projects for years, but missed this event as well as the others here. I love that area of the site and would like to see it highlighted more.

message 14: by Lise (new)

Lise I agree Erin (Paperbackstash) I would like it if it popped up on my emails or the mail button on goodreads so I and some other people of goodreads be able to participate

message 15: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Clark This is so amazing. Nice to see that Goodreads is not just a national online corporation but also cares about there communities.

message 16: by Lise (new)

Lise agree

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