The Book Drop

The Bookmobile – a New Take

Recognizing the community’s steadfast support of our mission for over 276 years, the Charleston Library Society is proud to announce a bold new initiative called the Book Drop.

Simply put, the goal is to improve and increase access to books for underserved children ages birth to five years old in order to foster literacy during the most critical years. Early exposure to books is crucial in the development of vocabulary, self expression, imagination and comprehension – necessary tools for school preparedness and ongoing success.

Bookmobiles were first introduced in the early 20th century to ensure books were available to those who could not access a library. The Library Society Book Drop will utilize this familiar concept and facilitate its outreach delivery with its very own bookmobile – the physical manifestation of the program that delivers access to books in a number of ways.

All children should enjoy the magic of reading, and the power of our community can make this happen TOGETHER.


Readers ARE within Reach

  • Nearly all brain development occurs in the first three years of life. A child’s brain is 80% developed by age three, and 90% by age five
  • From birth, babies are hardwired to develop language skills. Even the tactile experience of holding or touching a book supports babies’ cognitive development
  • In the greater Charleston community, there are many resources and support for literacy from Kindergarten onward, but Early Childhood remains the largest gap
  • South Carolina, along with parts of Georgia and Alabama, comprise a “literacy desert” where children sorely lack exposure to books at an early age—often because their caregivers have limited means and/or time to foster reading, or because there is simply no access to affordable or free books
  • South Carolina’s education system is ranked 49th in the US with no access to universal Pre-K

Once you learn to read, you will forever be free.

– Frederick Douglass



In partnership with Books in Every Bag, the Library Society will create and fund the cost of a ‘First Library’ Book Set, offsetting an unsustainable expense for their Birth-Age Five literacy efforts that reach 800 newborns a month. The CLS First Library will follow the first three stages of early literacy as well as include a Read-Aloud component to remove barriers for families facing adult literacy challenges.

The CLS ‘First Library’ will also be available for sale in participating retail stores, with all proceeds fueling Book Set reprints and circulation.

FUND a Book Set!


Little ‘Free Libraries’ will physically bring a library of books to those without access.  These ‘CLS outposts’ will be strategically installed at community partner locations in targeted literacy deserts around Greater Charleston where families with children ages birth-5 years old (readers in reach) can continually get free books.

The books for these  ‘CLS Outposts’ will be possible through the recirculation of donations, new books purchased with monies raised by the Book Drop initiative, and any books gifted by participating publishers.

SPONSOR a Little Free Library!


The entire community can participate in bringing the Library to those without direct access. Through our Book Drop, children’s books will be collected at convenient ‘drop’ locations such as participating schools, pediatrician offices and others to be determined. After coming through the Library Society for sorting, they will be sent out on the bookmobile for recirculation. 

Please sign up here to be KEPT IN THE KNOW about opportunities to donate books or volunteer time… We are not quite ready, but want to tell you when we are!

GIVE YOUR Time or Books!


We want to bring the Charleston Library Society to young families who may not be able to access a library. Partnerships can serve to strengthen, support, and even transform individual offerings, resulting in improved program quality, and a more effective use of resources.

The Charleston Library Society has aligned with Books in Every Bag for a key element of our “Book Drop” initiative, providing the first book that is needed for every bag they deliver to a child. The Books in Every Bag program provides an enrollment opportunity for every newborn to have a book a month until age 5 (program currently offered at MUSC, Roper and Northwoods hospitals, approx. 800/month). 

Together, our community can equalize opportunity for all children to have access to books. 

We are accepting all forms of support in making this initiative possible: whether you or your organization would like to support the Book Drop initiative in a lasting way by being a Founding Sponsor or Community Partner, by promoting the Launch Event through sponsoring or offering an in-kind donation, or by funding CLS First Library Sets OR Little Free Libraries.

To secure a sponsorship or further inquire please contact Jenna Simpson, Director of Engagement & Outreach at the email linked above.