Street Books

OCT Qualified


Street Books is a bicycle-powered library, serving people who live outside. We strive to: Empower people on the streets through access to literature and create a community of support through a shared love of books.

Bottom Line for Portland

Since 2011, Street Books has provided books for patrons who live outside and who face systemic barriers (lack of ID, proof of address). Library patrons receive an official Street Books library card. There are no fees or fines and they can pass the book on to friends if they don’t cross paths with Street Books again. Library patrons know they can count on a friendly librarian who will suggest books, take a request, and just listen if they have a story to tell. We also provide reading glasses, water and other needed supplies.

We partner with over 30 community-based organizations to offer books and reading glasses. This enables us to reach more patrons and enhance these organizations’ services. We build curated boxes of books for partner organizations to distribute along with needed supplies.


“I was living outdoors when I first found Street Books, and I checked out maybe three books a week. I probably got over 50 books that first season. I’d sit down at the waterfront on that bench and pass the time of day. It really, really beats sitting around doing nothing, and it most definitely beats sitting around feeling bad.” --Ben Hodgson, board member, librarian, patron, author.

“One of the single best ideas I’ve seen in this town.” --Author Omar El Akkad (What Strange Paradise and American War)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Street Books is committed to the pursuit of equity—both internally and in the world at large—by fighting for systemic change together with those most affected by the violence of poverty. This is a commitment that we will model in our own lives and within our organization. We will use an anti-oppressions framework to guide our operations as we work to build mutual, authentic relationships by showing up consistently to share books, resources, and friendships that reflect the communities’ own needs, identities, and desires. We will work in solidarity with our patrons with love, support community organizing, and show up for human rights. This is really important to us. We will consistently and continually commit resources, time, and effort to it. 


Thank you to Hygiene4All, Street Roots, Open Signal, XRAY.FM, Up Up Books, Annie Bloom’s Books and the Tin Shed Garden Cafe for all you do for our communities and for generously partnering with Street Books for the 2023 Give!Guide. 

$52,150 raised of $55,000 goal
405 donations
95% of Goal


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Year Founded: 2011

Tax ID: 45-4081674

Street Books is in the Community category which is sponsored by Willamette Week.

They're a micro-sized organization with activities in Multnomah Co.

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