First Book

Bring on the Book Truck!

lowell-flyer-1On Saturday, November 19,  the United Teachers of Lowell in partnership with First Book, a national nonprofit, will be distributing over 40,000 free books to families, classrooms and community programs here in Lowell.

This is a community-wide event and we will need the  assistance of the entire community to make this event a success!

We are grateful to our UTL members – active members and retirees – who are working toscreenshot-2016-10-29-08-22-38 bring this phenomenal opportunity to Lowell! We are also grateful to our Community Sponsors who have made purchasing additional books that are culturally sensitive and selected to reflect the diversity here in Lowell, a reality.


Our event, FirstBook Lowell “Books On Wheels” will take place Saturday, November 19th at the Lowell ELKs Lodge (40 Old Ferry Road). Our doors will open to the public at 9 am and we will continue to check in children and parents until 2 pm or until the book supply is depleted.  Books are available first-come, first-served. We are expecting a great turn-out so be sure to arrive early for best selection.

Families, your Lowell Public School student should receive this coupon and flyer in the next week. Remember to bring the coupon with you on Saturday (1 coupon per child please) for quick access to 40,000 plus books!  Download the individual student coupon here and download the event flyer here.

Registered Community Partners and Registered UTL Members will have Early Bird Access to the event. Be sure to check your email over the next days for details. If you haven’t yet registered, see links below on how to do so.

For easy access to each component of this event, see the following details.

Volunteer Opportunities

screenshot-2016-10-27-18-33-41We are reaching out to the community for help during our FirstBook Books on Wheels event. We will post the online volunteer sign up sheets here on Sunday Night, October 16.

Friday, November 18th – Preparation Day Online Sign-ups Here

  1. Team Captain: This person should be able to advise about book levels (Pre-school/Picture Books, Elementary Readers, Middle Readers, Adult/High School) as well as unpack the carton with 3 additional crew members.
  2. Carton Crew (3 assigned per pallet in addition to the Team Captain): unload cartons, stack like titles together, bring titles to designated book areas (Pre-school/Picture Books, Elementary Readers, Middle Readers, Adult/High School).
  3. Stackers: Needed to keep the book distribution areas orderly (try to place stacks of like titles together), mark off walking spaces around and between stacks so everything is accessible. Should be able to move between 2 areas as the books begin to fill in.
  4. Clean Up:  Break down cartons and move to central location near kitchen, move pallets to outside of building for pick up or for use by ELKS, dispose of plastic wrapping as pallet boxes are unwrapped. (Assist with stacking in between jobs, marking off lanes for walking with masking tape). This job will start on second shift as the first pallets are emptied and sorted.

Saturday, November 19th – Distribution Day Sign-Ups Here.

  1. Registration and Check-In Desk:  Check LPSD ID and check registered LPSD name off the school list; Check representatives for registered Community Program Groups (they will have a letter or something from us). If unregistered, help either of these groups complete the paper email registration (no wifi?) and then direct to entry door.  For families/parents, check for “coupon” or give one to each child if that is needed.
  2. Greeters: Greet people at the front door; direct them to books areas. Answer questions.
  3. Parking Lot Assistance:  Needed to guide vehicles if we have a heavy influx of cars at once, provide assistance to registered users in bringing boxes of books to vehicles.
  4. Book Room Assistance:  Keep the stacks in 4 areas (Pre-school/picture books, Elementary, Middle, Adult/High School) in order, possible guidance to parent/children looking for particular type of books.
  5. Clean Up Crew: Help us get our host site back to normal. Shift begins around 2 and should be done by 4.

Raising Funds to Support Diverse Books

With the incredible support of our Community Partners and generous individuals, we are delighted to announce we not only met our initial fundraising goal of $5,000 toward purchasing diverse books, but we exceeded it!  Thank you so much for this incredible support. Our books have been ordered and we are on our way to providing culturally sensitive literature that will reflect Lowell’s diversity.

Email Registrations for Qualifying Programs and Individuals

In order to receive a free truck load of brand new books for readers of every age, we are collecting email addresses as registrations for First Book’s Marketplace. The Marketplace gives registrants access to thousands of high-quality books at deeply discounted prices (40-90% off list). Registrants may opt-out at any time.

Community organizations meeting the eligibility requirements outlined by FirstBook check this website. Not sure if your group qualifies? FirstBook’s eligibility requirements are outlined about halfway down the page.

Email Registration for UTL Members and Lowell Public Schools

If you are a UTL member or Lowell Public School Department employee, you can download a copy of the paper registration form: downloadable registration form. Be sure to sign the back and give the form to your UTL Building Rep. You can also register online through this website:  Download the instructions for LPS users here: downloadable screen-by-screen instructions.  Please let us know if you use the electronic registration so we can cross-check our registration lists with First Book.


I rode in the navigator’s seat as Mickie Dumont and I traveled to Boston to see what a 40,000 book drop looks like.  Let me tell you, this event, Lowell FirstBook Books on Wheels is going to be HUGE!  When we visited today, Boston volunteers had unloaded and sorted about 20% of their book delivery (26 pallets worth). Here are a few photos to help you make sense of the enormity of this event.


Be sure you register for this once-in-a-lifetime FREE book event Scroll to the top of this page and the click on one of the links for either a paper registration or online email registration instructions.  You will be glad you did!