Bus of Books in Australia

May 10, 2013

800 million people around the world cannot read or write, of which 40% of them are children and teenagers

4 out of 5 children in remote and indigenous communities in Australia cannot read above minimum standards

50% of young people living in poverty and unemployment have difficulty reading & writing

Bus of Books is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing young people in rural and disadvantaged communities within Australia with resources and programs to read and succeed. We envision a world where young people are able to engage in rewarding education that empowers them to reach their full potential and make a difference in their communities. Founder and CEO Colin Lee is also a member of COE and is proud to have journeyed around the world with the team.  He felt inspired to get involved in social action projects to help make a difference in the world. A migrant himself to Australia, Colin is thankful and grateful to a country that has made him welcome and felt the need to give back and make a difference to the community that he has now made home. If it were not for the power of books, Colin would not be where he is today. He is now a leading authority on personal and professional development for Generation Y and Z in Australia and abroad. Nominated for the Australian of the Year 2008 award, Colin also won the award for Best Young Gun in Small Business and Winner of the Small Business Champion Entrepreneur in Australia recently. 

Lack of basic literacy skills is one of the biggest barriers to ‘closing the gap’ in communities in need, creating deep social disadvantages and limiting opportunities later in life. By immersing young people in the culture of reading, imagination is ignited and confidence built for a prosperous future, regardless of race, economic status and geography. By supporting literacy education in underfunded schools, libraries and communities, Bus of Books hopes to foster change in welfare dependent communities by inspiring the imaginations of young people and empowering them to seek higher learning and employment opportunities.


Our programs and campaigns engage local communities, schools, universities, and businesses in community service through book collection drives and fundraising events. We also engage and facilitate schools in higher affluent areas to collect books from their libraries and the families of the students. All the collected books are driven by bus and presented to the schools, libraries and communities in need. We target schools in Australia that are classed as low social economic status and are in remote and regional areas where resources and funding are hard to come by. We also target schools with a high refugee and migrant demographic, a group very close to the heart of Colin. 

Recently, Bus of Books organized a book drive and collected nearly 1,500 books from St Scholastica’s College in Glebe, NSW, a very affluent school and, combined with community collections, on the 15th October, the team at Bus of Books drove nine hours northwest from Sydney, Australia for 750 kilometers to Collarenebri, NSW, a small and remote town with a population of about 300 people. It is a low socio-economic community with limited employment and work opportunities and, therefore, there are significant levels of welfare dependence in the community. Bus of Books donated $3,000 and 3,000 books and educational resources to Collarenebri Central School. This is only just the start. Reading is a human right and education is the best way of addressing the challenges our world faces today and in doing so, making a difference. Let’s work together to engage, educate and empower our present and future leaders.

Check out www.busofbooks.com and lend a hand. 

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