MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Project READ wants your books!

Imagine not being able to the words on this page. Literacy remains an urgent, multigenerational need within the Dayton region.

The organization known as Project READ was formed in 1990 by a group of educators, business leaders, and philanthropists to pursue the mission of improving literacy in the Dayton area and Montgomery County and surrounding counties. The mission has always been to build skilled workers, strong families and healthy communities through lifelong literacy. That goal is accomplished through book collection and redistribution.

“Project READ addresses an issue often overlooked in the Dayton area, that of literacy and its link to poverty,” says Neta Potts, Donation Center Manager/Bookstore Manager. Potts serves this nonprofit organization full time as part of the national Americorps program designed specifically to fight poverty by fighting illiteracy. “National studies suggest that up to one-third of adults read at or below a sixth-grade level,” she says. “That may mean they aren’t able to read a job application or a prescription bottle.”

Approximately 60,000 people in Montgomery county read at or below the third grade level and 1 in 5 adults are functionally illiterate. Studies show that 61 percent of inner city homes don’t have any books or reading materials at all. “It’s important for children to own their own books, so they depend on the community to donate books so they can give them to kids in need,” says Potts. “Many children don’t have books in their homes. With an all volunteer staff and many other dedicated volunteers Project READ gives away thousands of books each year to schools, community organizations, food pantries and directly to children and families in need. Since its founding in 2008 Project Read has distributed more than 200,000 books!”

Project READ creates readers by collaborating with schools, churches, food banks, and other nonprofits. They distribute books through local educational organizations, nonprofits and community events. Books are personalized for each group, then packed by genre and age/grade level range and delivered directly to the organizations.

In 2022 Project READ distributed over 40,000 books to 65 organizations including schools, non-profits, food banks and directly to children and families in need. Their donation machine is sustained by schools, churches, colleges, stores and individuals/organizations conducting book drives on their behalf. And by you, our loyal readers!

Here’s what the need:

  • New and gently used books for all ages.
  • Most needed: Kindergarten books, first grade books, multicultural books

Your book donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m.. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the Project READ Donation Center, 661 Lyons Road next to Antiques Village or at one of 11 outdoor donation bins located throughout the Miami Valley, including The Greene Shopping Center (on Glengarry Drive), Carl’s Body Shop (1120 Wayne Ave.), the Walmart parking lot in Moraine (1701 Dorothy Lane), and Panera Bread (821 Lyons Road, Centerville).

Check Project READ’s website, for the most current list of donation bins. Indoor donation bins are also located in several Dayton-area businesses and can also be found on the website.

Questions? Call 937-949-1849 or email to arrange for a pick up of large donations that won’t fit in a donation bin.

Other ways to help?

  • Conduct a book drive for Project READ at your local business or school. Contact Potts for a Book Donation Toolkit and a donation bin(s).
  • Volunteer

For more information or questions, email: or call 937-949-8149 or visit

Want to buy books?

The Bookstore @ Antiques Village is run by volunteers and located at 651 Lyons Road in Centerville (behind Sam’s Club and next door to Arrow Wine). Most new and gently used books are priced $3 each, with some books priced as low as $1. In addition to saving a lot of money, you will support literacy programs in the Dayton area with every purchase. One hundred percent of book sale proceeds support Project READ’s literacy programs.

Open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Daily.


Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

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