Doorstep Library recruits and trains reading volunteers to go into disadvantaged areas of London and beyond, to help introduce young children to the pleasure and benefits of reading.
Our unique home-based service means we are there either in person or online, finding the most appropriate books for every child we visit and building a relationship with the whole family. Equipped with two little reading stools and backpacks brimming with books, or with parcels of books sent directly to families through the post, our volunteers are right there ready to help and inspire.
We use books to fuel children’s natural love of stories, fire their imaginations, and encourage their appreciation of reading. Our goal is to help each child develop the self-confidence and essential skills they need to reach their full potential. Our tailored service enables us to help prepare children for school and broaden their opportunities in later life.
Our volunteers visit families in pairs to run reading sessions every week in term-time. Sessions take place on the same evening each week and last approximately 20 minutes. We encourage parents/carers to join our sessions and to continue to read with children after we’re gone because we know that sharing stories together improves child-parent bonds, which in turn enriches family life, leads to better literacy and enhanced life opportunities.
In many cases our volunteers befriend the families and are warmly welcomed into their lives. They are there to lend a listening ear, to offer support, to have a friendly chat with parents and carers. In return our volunteers are able to watch the children develop and grow in confidence. They also have the opportunity to meet and spend time with a broad and diverse range of families, as well as other volunteers.
Having reached out and established a trusted link with the family, Doorstep Library is able to help families form bonds with the wider community through our signposting of local services. Books and reading form the basis of a contract of trust – it gives us a valuable platform to help forge community bonds that might otherwise be lost.
Our reading services are completely free, child-led and flexible. There are no costs or fines for books which are lost or damaged. There is no commitment – families can choose to have a visit or not each week.
Where we operate:
We offer a range of home reading sessions for families living in disadvantaged areas of London and beyond. These include in person home reading visits for families, alongside our Online Reading Corner where our reading volunteers visit families in an online setting.
We currently run 19 projects across several London boroughs (for details see map below) including:
- Hammersmith and Fulham
Online Reading Corner – available nationally
NOTE: If you are outside these boroughs but are interested in reading sessions for your family, or you would like to refer a family who live outside these areas, please get in touch. We might still be able to offer online reading visits.
For further details about our reading projects, when and where they take place, or to Book a Visit please see the links below.