A Note of Thanks from our Director

As I looked around my friend's home office, and took in the piles of carefully curated books, I felt a sense of pride. Here we were – two Minnesotans each running a nonprofit, passionate about literacy and kids, all while being parents ourselves. We work in the in-between spaces – during naps, after bedtimes and school drop offs. In our homes, out of our cars and on our laptops. Together we contribute to a larger picture of local people who care about Minnesota kids. Who care about literacy and creating lifelong readers.  

Over the past 7 years of working for Start Reading Now, I've been inspired countless times by the people I collaborate with.  

From the school employees who add to their already overloaded plates to make sure students have access to free books. To Start Reading Now's founders who gave me a dream job. ...

To the local author, Abby Cooper, who uses her expertise (and minimal free time) to run a A Book of My Own. To the librarians at Hennepin County and St. Paul Public Libraries who are eager to show up at our book fairs time and time again. To Melissa Long at Great MN Schools who invited us into the fold of the MN Literacy Coalition

To all of our volunteers who consistently show up. As I watch your names fill up the book fair sign ups and then I see your smiling faces, it gives my heart hope. That we’re all in this together, making our community better.  

To Literati - the book fair powerhouse behind the scenes. Thank you for being a phenomenal partner. Not only are you all a joy to work with, but you genuinely care about the work we’re doing together.  

Thank you to our board members and donors. To the large donors who have supported us for years and keep us afloat. And to all the individual donors who inspire us with every dollar that's given. Each and every one of you should be proud of what we accomplished this year.

Start Reading Now wants to give an extra special thank you to Amy Wolford. Without her support this year we would not have been able to expand into St. Paul schools – something that meant so much to her late husband and our former Board Chair, Jim.

And last but certainly not least, to our board chair Hannah. You are my right-hand person for everything. I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am that you and Jim believed in Start Reading Now. Your tireless commitment to getting the work done (in your free time!) and making sure kids have access to new books is inspiring, to say the least.  

I’ve also learned that sometimes you must sing your own praises. So this is me doing that. I’m proud of us – proud of the thousands of books (just over 290,000 books to be exact) we've delivered to students across the Cities. Awesome, Minnesota kids who all deserve a chance to love reading.  



Lauren Beek 

Start Reading Now Executive Director