Streetreads is more than books

Our Streetreads Library opened in August 2021. We’re based at the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, 25 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX

We’re delighted that people can access a safe and welcoming space to read, relax and access a wide variety of support. 

Stories offer a great way to escape the realities of trauma and tough times, a chance to lose yourself in another world, to find solace, adventure and new horizons. They also help us start conversations and build connections vital to recovery from homelessness.

The Origins of Streetreads

Streetreads was the idea and project of a remarkable woman called Rachel Cowan, known around Edinburgh as the book wumman #bookwumman. Rachel knows what it’s like to be homeless and its devastating impact.  Her desire to change that for others inspired her to use books to bring more than solace but adventure, excitement, daring, mystery, romance and thrills into lives with a darker kind of drama. Rachel and Simon Community Scotland came together in 2018 with a desire to reach further and make more connections.

But Streetreads is more than the books – here are just some of the ways that we connect with people through stories:

  • Stories really do connect us so we’ve created spaces to bring in storytellers and to create stories.
  • We will use those spaces to connect readers with the authors and writers that are so inspirational to peoples lives.
  • We can now run classes and events helping people connect with their world, where people can listen, take part and create their own stories.
  • We provide audio books and the tech for people to listen to them.
  • We offer reading glasses to those who need them.
  • We offer EasyRead books, graphic novels and books in a variety of languages.


“Streetreads is a humble, but brilliant project.  It’s helped me a lot… to meet new people, that boosted my confidence.  Through books I have improved my knowledge of myself and my skills.  Books helped me to focus on something positive during dark moments, inspiring me and giving me new ideas and a different vision of life.” Dan, Streetreads reader


I’ve been a long-time fan of Streetreads and have seen first-hand the great work they do. Books can transport us anywhere, to times and worlds that excite and stimulate. That’s hugely important, no matter who you are or what your circumstances.” Ian Rankin, author


We’re so grateful to everyone who gives their support and encouragement to Streetreads.

Ian Rankin, author; Douglas Stuart, author; Picador/Pan Macmillan; Kerry Hudson, author; Ricky Ross, Musician/Songwriter, Better World Books @BWBooks, The Skinny Magazine @theskinnymag, Lighthouse Bookshop @Lighthousebks, The Portobello Bookshop, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister.


Books offer a lifeline for people facing homelessness.

With your help we can source and buy the books people really want.