Thanks to a Grant from Better World Books, a Library Comes to Life in the Fifth Ward's Finnigan Park

Thanks to a literacy grant from Better World Books, Harris County Public Library was able to partner with Harris County Precinct 1's Finnigan Park to build a Living Library at their Youth Education Tower (YET) Center. Located in the 5th Ward, Finnigan Park’s YET Center serves as a safe, after-school space for elementary and middle school students from three neighborhood schools.

Left: The space before the grant's renovation Right: The space after it became the Living Library

The Living Library is a collection of 400 high-interest books for K – 3rd grade children housed in a welcoming environment filled with colorful carpets and comfortable seating. The collection includes a wide selection of picture books, juvenile nonfiction, early readers, and chapter books. The books are organized into 8 easy-to-understand categories: Funny and Interactive, Imagination, Family and Friendship, Realistic Fiction, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction, Chapter Books, and Poetry. In addition to the books, the grant also purchased 30 eReaders. Each eReader contains stories that have a read-aloud function, so a child can access stories above their independent reading level even when Book Buddies isn’t in session. They also contain a wide array of literacy games and activities.

Left: Living Library book collection Right: Living Library eBook collection








Many of the books are above the independent reading level of a K – 3rd grader, and they are meant to be read aloud to them by someone older. The Book Buddies program, which trains middle schoolers (Big Buddies) in best practices around reading aloud and then matches them with 1st – 3rd graders (Little Buddies), ensures that the collection is well-used and well-loved. The Book Buddies meet twice a week for 30 minutes each time, naturally building a culture of reading and relationships. At the end of each Book Buddies program, each of the Buddies chooses two gift books to take home to build their own personal libraries. The grant provides enough funds to sustain the gift books and program for the next two years. Because of the literacy grant from Better World Books, there is a blossoming community of readers at Finnigan Park.




Outstanding work! Proud to

Outstanding work! Proud to be part of an organization that is making a difference in the community.

It's exciting that public

It's exciting that public libraries are changing even more lives in Harris County!

Yes, we think so, too! It's

Yes, we think so, too! It's especially gratifying when we can work people in the community and great partners like Harris County Precinct 1 and the good people at Finnigan Park. Thanks for your feedback!