The Books in Homes Programme was originally inspired by Maori author, Alan Duff ,who wrote the widely acclaimed book Once Were Warriors. Duffy Books in Homes New Zealand was formed in 1995, and now has over 100,000 students participating from 530 schools and more than 200 sponsors.
The Charitable Foundation for Books in Homes Australia was formed in 2001.
The Australian Government via the Department of Education, Science and Training funded a Pilot of the Books in Homes Primary Programme in 93 selected schools in Far North Queensland and the Northern Territory commencing in April 2001 and concluding in November 2001.
This Pilot reached 10,800 primary aged children and successfully delivered 75,675 books-of-choice. The overwhelmingly positive response of the children to book ownership changed perceptions and increased expectations in many communities.
Between Term 4, 2003 and term 2, 2010 Books in Homes Australia delivered The Books in Homes Primary Programme via the Australian Government to:
- 51 schools in the Murdi Paaki Region of NSW, reaching approx. 5,123 students;
- 42 remote schools in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, reaching approx. 6,400 students;
- 82 very remote schools the Northern Territory, reaching over 10,000 students.
A staggering 585,959 books-of-choice were successfully distributed over 17 school terms!!
The Australian Government commissioned Atelier Learning Solutions Pty Ltd to evaluate the Book in Homes Programme in 2006 and the executive summary of this evaluation concluded:
In the year to 30 June, 2016, Books in Homes Australia had 46 Corporate Supporters and one State Government Contract (NT); 1,540 families participating on the Books in Homes Early Childhood Programme; 437 children participating on the Books in Homes Preschool Programme; and 12,290 students participating on the Books in Homes Primary Programme.
As of 2016, the tally stands at over 2 million books distributed across Australia through the Books in Homes programme!