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Johnson County

First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, each year First Book distributes millions of free and low-cost books to disadvantaged children and the programs that serve them.

Established in 2005, First Book - Johnson County is working hard to bring the magic of books to the Johnson County area. So far the Johnson County Advisory Board has raised over $25,000 and distributed over 15,000 books. Each year the board holds a Speed Read fundraiser where local celebrities compete against each other to determine who can read the most words in 15 seconds.  Please contact the Advisory Board if you are interested in being a “local celebrity” reader or donating to the cause.

Book Grant Recipients

First Book-Johnson County has given book grants to many programs in Johnson County. IA.   A typical book grant lasts for a six month period and offers each child in the program a steady diet of books (usually one book per month), all at no cost to the program. Because program administrators select the titles from the First Book Marketplace, our book grants enable programs — often for the first time — to select books to integrate into curriculum.

The following are some of the organizations that have received book grants from First Book-Johnson County.

  • Iowa City Park & Rec – Stories in the Park
  • HACAP/Head Start
  • University of Iowa Hospitals – American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Iowa City Free Med Clinic
  • Iowa Children’s Museum
  • Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County
  • 4 C’s Child Care
  • United Action for Youth
  • Oakdale Prison – Stories from Dad
  • Big Brothers / Big Sisters of Johnson County
  • Grant Wood AEA
  • Integrative Health Services
  • Mid-Eastern Council on Chemical Abuse (MECCA)

Find out how to Receive Books for your organization.

Local Sponsors and Donors

We are able to provide brand-new, high-quality books to children in our community thanks to the generous financial contributions of local businesses and individuals like:

  • Borders
  • Rotary Club of Iowa City Downtown
  • Walmart
  • Stuff Etc.
  • Kohl’s
  • Iowa City/Coralville Jaycees
  • Iowa Realty
  • IHOP
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Optimist Club of Iowa City
  • West Bank

First Book Wants You!  

We are looking for passionate, entrepreneurial people who want to make a difference in their community. Help us get books to kids who need them most.

Contact Us

You can contact us by sending an email to

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