Our impact

Twice Upon a Time gives new and nearly new books to Ottawa children to support literacy and foster a love of reading at home. Since 2014, we have provided thousands of books to local families to help improve children’s literacy rates, education, and opportunities for their future.

Twice Upon a Time:

  • Helps improve access to books for children from 0 to 12 years old
  • Provides self-serve bookshelves and weekly pop-up bookstore services in locations throughout Ottawa
  • Works with community partners to distribute free books to Ottawa kids

We are always looking for ways to improve and expand our service delivery model to best meet the current needs of local children and families, bringing the gift of reading to more homes in our local communities.

“One story that we both love is about a four-year-old girl we see every week who comes with her mom; her mom was pregnant and each week the little girl would ask to choose a book for her brother who was arriving in a few months. In February, he was born and we got to meet him. We love knowing that he already has a little library of his own and that his sister and mom are excited to read to him!” – El and Courtney, Twice Upon a Time volunteers

Your support brings free books to Ottawa children

Thanks to supporters like you, we are improving access to books across Ottawa. In 2022, your generosity helped us:

  • Acquire 10,430 books through donations and purchases
  • Distribute 6,127 books through our programs, events, bookshelves, and pop-ups
  • Collaborate with over 10 community partners to distribute free books to kids
  • Give out 150 books through the inaugural Give the Gift of Reading initiative to provide visitors of the Overbrook Community Centre an opportunity to select a book to give to a family member or friend
  • Launch ReconciliAction – Best Indigenous Kids Books to offer Ottawa children and Indigenous partners close to Ottawa materials by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit authors and books that feature these communities’ stories, history, cultures, and characters
  • Partner with Atlético Ottawa, the city’s professional soccer team, to encourage fans to donate new and nearly new books. More than 350 books were collected!

When you make a donation to Twice Upon a Time, you have the choice to direct your funds to one of four areas of need: Kids Today, Plaisir de lire!, ReconciliAction, or where most needed. Learn more about these areas here.

“I found out that by 2022, she was in 9th grade and was a complete bookworm, always reading at least one book. She is active in book clubs and is always looking for her next new read. I cannot think of a better example of how Twice Upon a Time makes a difference.” – Laura May, Twice Upon a Time volunteer

Time capsule: Ottawa’s new “book bank” launches in 2014

CBC Radio’s Giacomo Panico spoke with Twice Upon a Time founder Alexandra Yarrow about why Ottawa needs a book bank.

Listen now >


By supporting our mission to give new and nearly new books to children, you contribute to building a more literate, empowered, and equitable Ottawa. Together, let’s ensure that every child, regardless of their background, can experience the gift of reading and the boundless possibilities it brings.