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Seeking Oasis in Book Deserts: Building Home Libraries to Create Equity in Book Ownership

Elizabeth McChesney


Libraries have long promoted book giveaways to increase the love of reading and books. The educational benefits are well documented for increased print and book ownership access. Libraries also leverage programs such as 1000 Books Before Kindergarten and summer learning as popular programs to help families grow home libraries.

Despite these efforts, there are many socioeconomic disparities in which children in this country own books. Espinosa et al. found that children in the highest socioeconomic status have over five times the books in their homes as children in the lowest quartile. A study by van Bergen et al. found that the number of books in the home helps predict early reading abilities, yet these gaps in book ownership persist.

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