Streetreads is more than books

Streetreads takes books and stories to people affected by homelessness.  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, new horizons.  They also help us start conversations and build the connections that are vital to recovery from homelessness.


Books offer a lifeline for people facing homelessness. With your help we will source and buy the books people really want.

One of our Streetreads readers
One of our Streetreads readers. Photo by Bash Khan. All Rights Reserved.

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.

It’s not about what we do, it’s the way we do it. Genuinely connecting with people about past experiences, favorite tales, moments in time that were happy, moving and even exciting. We’re all storytellers in our own way.

The next step (or chapter!) for Streetreads is to open our new library: a dedicated, beautifully designed, welcoming place for people experiencing homelessness to read books, talk about books, and share stories together.

Person reading a book

Streetreads Edinburgh

We currently provide free books at the following locations:

  • Streetwork Holyrood Hub, Holyrood Road
  • Streetwork on South Bridge
  • Soul Food at Mustard Seed St Margaret’s Church
  • Bethany Christian Trust, Welcome Centre, Haymarket Hub Hotel
  • Broomhouse Community One Stop Shop
  • Edinburgh NW Foodbank
  • Bethany Creative writing group
  • Cunningham House Hostel

Opening times vary, please contact us for more information.

Streetreads Glasgow

In 2021 we are aiming to open a new streetreads library and storytelling space on London Road. The impact of Covid has significantly delayed the project but our Glasgow volunteers continue to support people on an outreach basis and make connections across the City. We need your help and support to create this exciting and imaginative new space in the City.

One of our Streetreads readers
One of our Streetreads readers. Photo by Bash Khan. All Rights Reserved.

Get involved

We need people who can give their time and talents to help us: catalogue, order and manage stock, connect with homeless people about stories and what they want and need, distribute books with the Street Team, manage bookcase outposts, help to raise awareness, share the impact of the project, fundraise and connect with supporters. 

We’re also looking to connect with storytellers, writers, publishers, profile raisers, optometrists, educators, creative thinkers – the sky’s the limit! We’d love to hear from you if you would like to help.

The Origins of Streetreads

Streetreads was the idea and project of a remarkable woman Rachel Cowan, known around Edinburgh as the book wumman #bookwumman. Rachel knows what it’s like to be homeless and the devastating impact that has.  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 a life 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.

Contact Us

Email Us:
Tweet Us: @streetreads
Call Us: 0131 344 0825