Thanks to an outpouring of book donations from the BWH community, a local homeless shelter now features a library and its shelves are filling up with good reads.

Priyanka Moondra, a research assistant in the Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology, recently organized a book drive for the local Woods Mullen Homeless Shelter in Boston. In total, more than 200 books were collected to build a library for shelter residents.

The mission to build a shelter library took shape after Moondra began volunteering at Woods Mullen to work on art projects with its residents and explore art’s therapeutic benefits. As she learned of residents’ diverse interests, Moondra became committed to offering the homeless greater access to literature, with a goal of promoting literacy, empowering the homeless and combating the stigmas they face. She founded a group called Shelterly, which led the library initiative, with much help from the BWH community and BWH Young Professionals.

“Books from all genres were donated,” said Moondra. “We saw everything from science fiction to children’s books to historical non-fiction to economics and poetry.”

The shelter received enough books to share with guests living in the temporary homeless shelter in Boston’s South End Fitness Center and a re-entry program in Mattapan. The new library offers readers of all literacy levels a wide variety of books to choose from.
Added Moondra: “Every book has made a difference, and the residents are so grateful for the contributions.”

Follow @Shelterly on Twitter or email to learn more, including how to donate to the library.