About the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Can you imagine not being able to read a newspaper, a road sign or directions on a bottle of medication? Sadly, this is a reality faced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in remote communities today.


The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is a national charity that was founded and set up by members of the Australian book industry in 2005. It draws on the skills and expertise of the book industry to address children's literacy levels in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 

The ILF's work is done through three core programs: Book Supply, Book Buzz and Community Literacy Projects. The ILF also advocates to raise community awareness of Indigenous literacy issues.

Since 2011, the ILF has worked as a not-for-profit charity without any government support or major corporate funding. It works with the support of the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association and the Australian Society of Authors, along with a team of ambassadors, volunteers, and five full-time staff members. 

Indigenous Literacy Day

The major fundraising and advocacy day, Indigenous Literacy Day, will be held on Wednesday 7 September in 2016. The aim of Indigenous Literacy Day is to spread awareness about the need to improve literacy levels and opportunities for Indigenous children living in the most remote and isolated parts of Australia. The funds raised on the day go towards buying books and literary resources for these communities. 


The ILF's vision is to make a positive difference in the lives of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children by focusing on ways to improve their literacy levels. We believe that children's future educational experiences can be greatly improved through enjoyable, positive engagements with books in family and community environments. 


ILF's purpose is to improve literacy levels of young Australian Indigenous children, to enable them to make the most of educational opportunities. 


  • Provide books and support to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents so that families can enjoy literacy together. 
  • Encourage links between the book industry, schools and libraries to ensure the supply of books in remote Indigenous communities.
  • Assist in the writing and publishing of books, with the help of publishers and ambassadors, in the child's first language and in English.
  • Ensure engagement and familiarity with a similar range and types of books that children will experience in schools.


The ILF's three core programs – Book Supply, Book Buzz and Community Literacy Projects – are as follows.

The Book Supply sees books and literary resources gifted to remote communities.

The Book Buzz program supplies culturally and developmentally appropriate books and First language translations for babies and toddlers in remote communities. 

The Community Literacy Projects see Australian authors and ILF ambassadors team up with major publishers and students from remote communities to write and publish books in English and First languages.

These books are cherished in the community and sold by the ILF to schools and libraries. 


We place the utmost importance on the value of early literacy development, understanding that strong literacy skills enhances the potential for greater choice as children grow up. 


The ILF acknowledges and respects the unique place of Australia's first peoples and commits its energy and resources to ensuring Australian Indigenous children have every opportunity, early in their lives, to do well in their school years.


You can download a copy of the following documents by clicking on the links below. 

    • 2016

    • ILF celebrates 6 years as an independent Foundation & consolidates programs. Aims to gift 40K books to remote Australia; expand Book Buzz and publish 6 Community Literacy Projects; develops app with Pearson Australia. New Chair Patricia Genat; ILF becomes 5 staff members. ILD celebrated 7 September & Great Book Swap campaign run nationally.

    • 2015

    • Quentin Bryce becomes Patron & new team of ambassadors join ILF. 30K books delivered to remote Indigenous communities; 5 CLPs published; $1.4 million raised.ILF travels to 5 remote communities

    • 2014

    • ILF raises $902K,gifts 25K books, travels to 5 remote communities & launches the Pamela Lofts Literacy for Life Initiative in Alice Springs.

    • 2013

    • Tina Raye joins ILF as Program Manager. ILF gifts 20K books to 250 communities across Aust; publishes & funds 8 community literacy projects (two in Walmajarri language) and trials new Buzz 3 kit for early literacy. ILF travels to Tiwi Islands for annual Ambassador visit, attends GARMA with ambassador Alison Lester. Indigenous Literacy Day celebrated with students and teachers from Tjuntjuntjara Remote Community School (WA). The Great Book Swap campaign is conducted nationally.

    • 2012

    • Professor Martin Nakata joins ILF Board. The Foundation launches new strategy for 2012-17 focusing resources on early literacy. A major evaluation is undertaken, field and program visits occur in key Book Buzz communities including Yakanarra and Warburton; two books in dual language are launched in Menindee & Wilcannia. Translations and publications of The Honey Ant Readers series begins in Central Australia. Indigenous Literacy Day involves key partnerships and ambassadors across Australia.

    • 2011

    • The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is launched as independent, not-for-profit charity of the Aust Book Industry with Juliet Rogers as Chair, Karen Williams as Executive Director, Emily Wiech as Administrator. 20K bks are delivered into remote communities across Australia. ILF conducts five ambassador field trips in Warburton, Gove, Manyallaluk, Wilcannia and across the Kimberley from Broome to Wyndham. Books are published in three Indigenous languages and three community literacy projects are undertaken. The Naked Boy & the Crocodile is launched at Sydney Opera House. The Governor General launches Indigenous Literacy Day in Parliament House. The Foundation raises $550,000.

    • 2010

    • The program expands dramatically. Over 60,000 books are delivered in 24 months to over 200 communities in WA, SA, QLD, NT and parts of NSW. FHF moves out of literacy programs and helps establish ILP as a Foundation.

    • 2009

    • An early literacy project, Book Buzz, is launched in three remote locations in WA, NSW and NT. A full time Literacy Co-ordinator is appointed by FHF.

    • 2008

    • Thérèse Rein becomes Patron of ILP and 300 schools, 300 booksellers and publishers around Australia raise over $300,000 on Indigenous Literacy Day.

    • 2007

    • The Indigenous Literacy Project (ILP) is launched in partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation and $250,000 is raised.

    • 2005-2006

    • The Australian Readers' Challenge (ARC) is launched in partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF), Ian Thorpe's Fountain for Youth Trust and The Australian Book Industry (Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Booksellers Association). ARC is run by a voluntary committee.

    • 2004

    • Suzy Wilson launches The Riverbend Readers' Challenge. 112 Qld schools join and students read over 38,000 books and raise $25,000. Six boxes of books are delivered to remote communities in the Katherine region, NT.