Empty Shelves - A Crisis in our Schools

Children in schools need books.

Let the dire state of so many of our country’s schools be a call to action, for government, corporations and individuals to do their part in nurturing and helping grow our most precious resource—our children.

Heather Reisman,
CEO, Indigo Books & Music Inc.

Can you imagine a childhood without books?

No Wizard of Oz. No Harry Potter. No Cat in the Hat. No maps of faraway places, or stories about the people who live there.

A book can inspire a child to discover the world—and themselves. Nothing is a better indicator of future success than early literacy.

But many children in Canada are growing up without books. The school book budget for one child in the 1970s must stretch to cover nine children today 1. Provincial governments are shortchanging our children on the most important investment we can make in their future 2.

The crisis is so great that in 2001 teachers and principals spent $143 million of their own money 3 to buy books and learning materials for their students.

Children from high-needs schools suffer most, including those from low-income neighbourhoods, immigrant or non-English-speaking families or those of Aboriginal descent.

Our mission is to encourage a love of reading in every child and give them the chance to reach their full potential. We know we will get there with the help of our 7,000 employees and millions of customers. The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has already committed $12 million dollars for high-needs elementary schools—but we need your help to keep growing. Each year, elementary schools are selected to become a Love of Reading school, and receive funding over a three-year period for books and literacy programs to inspire their students.

You can be part of the movement to spread a love of reading among the children of Canada. There are three simple things you can do to help right now. Donate, purchase special Love of Reading merchandise with all net proceeds going to the Foundation, or lend your voice to the cause by contacting the government representative in your area or signing our online petition.

The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has a vision of a future in which provincial governments step up and fund schools appropriately, giving every child across Canada equal opportunity to live up to their potential and fulfill their dreams. Until then, Love of Reading is dedicated to putting books in the hands of children.
  1. Source: Dr. Ken Haycock. In 1970, many Canadian school districts budgeted to buy three books per child. Today, the average budget covers one-third of a book per child.
  2. Source: In 2007, Ogden School in Thunder Bay, ON, was allocated only $1.27 per child per year for new books by the provincial government.
  3. Source: 2001 survey by the Canadian Teacher`s Federation.
Donate Now!
Help us transform more schools into Love of Reading schools.
Purchase Products
Browse Love of Reading products that support literacy programs in our schools!
Adopt a School
Supporting your local school library
Sign the Petition
Lend your voice to the campaign

The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation is a registered charitable organization established in 2004
to help provide new books and learning materials to Canadian elementary schools in need.