Little Blue Bookshelf Project

The Little Blue Bookshelf is stocked with gently-used or new books appropriate for children from birth – 3rd grade in the community where families with young children visit. Primarily, the project focuses on families experiencing stressful situations or crisis, and encourage children to visit the shelf and choose a book to keep and share. 

Research shows if a child is successful in Kindergarten it is likely they will be successful in third grade. If they are successful in third grade and reading on the proficient level, it is more likely they will graduate high school on time.

Little Blue Bookshelf aims to give children easy access to age appropriate books. Book ownership is important in fostering an interest in reading and a love for books. Children feel pride in owning their own books and develop confidence in reading when books are easily within reach and can be read again and again. Providing books to young children in our community is vital to fostering a love and appreciation for reading and learning for life. The goals of this program are to increase book ownership by families, encourage adult-child interactions with books, involve community members in this literacy effort through book donations, and keep books circulating within the community.

Get Involved!

Volunteer today by calling United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas - you can help clean, sort, and refill bookshelves throughout the community! You can also sponsor a shelf at a new location ($250) or make a cash donation to purchase new books! Call 417-624-0153 for more information.

Donate new or gently used books today at the United Way offices located at 3510 East 3rd Street, Joplin or 117 West 4th Street, Pittsburg.

Volunteers or service groups/organizations are needed to hold book drives, sort/clean donated books and volunteer to go out into the community where the bookshelves are located to re-stock with books, organize the shelves and make sure the shelves are not damaged. Call the United Way to learn more about how you can contribute to this community program.

Little Blue Bookshelf Locations:


  • Access Family Care - 530 S. Maiden Ln
  • Boys & Girls Club - 317 Comingo Ave. 
  • Catholic Charities - 403 E. 4th St
  • Children's Center of SWMO - 1029 E. 7th St.
  • Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri - 701 S. Joplin Ave
  • Crosslines Ministries - 320 School Ave
  • Economic Security Corp - 302 S. Joplin Ave
  • Freeman Pediatric Care - 3333 McIntosh Circle Suite 1
  • Freeman Pediatric Partners - 1030 McIntosh Circle Suite 2
  • Freeman Children's Clinic-1030 McIntosh Circle Suite 1
  • Jasper County Family Services Division - 601 Commercial
  • Joplin NALA Read - 123 S. Main St
  • Joplin Police Department - 303 E. 3rd St
  • Lafayette House - 1809 S. Conner Ave.
  • Mercy Clinic Joplin-3126 S. Jackson
  • Ozark Center / Will's Place - 1800 W. 30th St
  • Pediatric Associates of SWMO - 2531 E. 32nd St
  • Ronald McDonald House - 3402 S. Jackson Ave.
  • Salvation Army-320 E. 8th St
  • WIC Office - 321 E. 4th St


  • Carl Junction Police Department - 302 N. Main - Carl Junction
  • CSS Early Learning Center - 1401 W. Austin - Webb City
  • Webb City Heritage Preschool - 1020 N. Main - Webb City
  • Webb City CARES - 1020 N. Main - Webb City


  • Children's Advocacy Center - 123 W. Adams St.
  • Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas - 3011 N. Michigan 
  • Pittsburg Family YMCA -1100 N. Miles
  • Pittsburg Police Department Juvenile Intake - 201 N. Pine St.
  • Safehouse Crisis Center - 409 N. Walnut St. 
  • Salvation Army - 307 E. 5th St.
  • Wesley House - 411 E. 12th St.