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First Book and Unbound Concepts Team Up to Help Educators in Low-Income Communities Discover Best Books for the Kids They Serve

BALTIMORE, March 16, 2015 – Baltimore-based Unbound Concepts and the nonprofit First Book today announced a partnership that will help match students from low-income families with high-quality books best-suited for their reading abilities and interests.

The partnership brings two innovative organizations together under the shared mission of improving access to books in classrooms and communities of need. First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise, has provided more than 125 million books and educational resources to kids from low-income families. Technology company Unbound Concepts identifies attributes in books and helps match them to readers with specific skills and interests through the web and mobile application, Artifact.

Together, First Book and Unbound Concepts will launch “QuickStart” orientation programs for eligible schools and community programs serving kids in need. The “QuickStart” technology will allow educators to discover over 2,000 high-quality children’s books available on First Book Marketplace, First Book’s online site offering brand-new, best-in-class books and educational resources at prices 50 to 90 percent below retail.

First Book and Unbound Concepts’ decision to launch the “QuickStart” programs helps address a growing need within First Book’s network of more than 160,000 educators and program leaders serving kids from low-income families. In a recent survey of First Book’s network, 77 percent of respondents indicated an interest in app-based education programs. Over 74 percent of respondents showed interest in web-based education programs.

“With this partnership, we can improve access to books,” says Katie Palencsar, Unbound Concepts’ CEO. “It’s also a great way to bring educators together to build a community around a persistent issue—finding better books to match to student interests, learning needs, and diverse backgrounds.”

“First Book is committed to empowering educators by providing them all the tools they need to help kids read and learn. The “QuickStart” program provides a new and innovative way to help educators find the best books for the individualized needs of their students,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president and CEO. “We’re thrilled to work with Unbound Concepts to bring this outstanding book discovery tool to our network and continue improving the quality of education for kids in need.”

To find out more about the “QuickStart” orientation programs, please visit http://info.unboundconcepts.com/quickstarts.

About Unbound Concepts

Unbound Concepts is a technology company dedicated to improving the way that readers search, discover and reflect on books. Founded in 2012 and based in Baltimore, MD, the company develops Artifact, the web and mobile app that enlists readers and machine learning to uncover the unique attributes of books and turns them into searchable criteria. For more information, visit www.unboundconcepts.com.

About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that has distributed more than 125 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada.  By making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. For more information, please visit www.firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.