CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A nonprofit organization gifted 12,000 books in its first year. 

What You Need To Know

  • Free mobile collective gives away books to people in the community

  • Kat Varner and Jesse Brown are behind Books on the House
  • The nonprofit offers books at events, pop-up libraries and little libraries in the Charlotte area

Books on the House is a free mobile book collective Kat Varner and Jesse Brown created in the Charlotte area. 

“We ended up serving over 3,500 families in the nine months we were in operation in 2023 and over 12,000 books were given away,” said Varner, the nonprofit's executive director. 

People can find books on their book mobile at some local events, their pop-up libraries or little libraries. 

The community donates new or lightly used books, and Brown and Varner passed them on to the next reader. 

“Reading wasn’t really pushed for me when I was growing up, but I also didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the school book fairs. That was always difficult for me, and I want to be able to give kids that experience, that same experience,” said Brown, the director of outreach and engagement. 

Brown found his love for reading in college, but he said he would’ve benefited from it sooner. 

“I would’ve been occupied with reading, and I probably would’ve done better in school,” Brown said. 

Varner, who has a background in education, marketing and fundraising, said reading has been important to her since she was young. 

“Books are a love of mine since I was little. My mom taught me the love of reading, and I just never stopped,” Varner said. 

The nonprofit not only aims to help children but also adults who instill reading in kids. 

“Books on the House is about building bridges for accessibility to those books, and it’s important to us to be able to erase some of those barriers by going with our book mobile into the community to give books for adults and kids for free,” Varner said. 

Those on the receiving end appreciate the effort. 

“Books are expensive, and it’s hard to get them sometimes. It’s great to have so much variety and not have to pay for them,” Amanda Lea said. 

Little by little, Brown and Varner hope to erase barriers to reading one book at a time. 

“That’s how we now, we are making a difference, we see it in action,” Brown said. 

The group serves people in Mecklenburg, Rowan, Lincoln, Catawba, Iredell and Cabarrus counties. 

To donate books, you can find out where to drop them off here