New or gently used classic and award-winning books found on school reading lists for K-12 are being accepted. Sally Brown, organizer of the project, now in its 13th consecutive year, said this campaign can help thousands of students.
“This project gives tremendous satisfaction to me personally, as well as supporting the mission of the University’s outreach. I am fortunate to be able to make delivery of the books, which is always heart-warming,” Brown said. “The school librarian and children immediately open the boxes to see the treasures we have brought them.”
The 2017 Books for the Black Belt campaign delivered more than 16,000 books to 53 school libraries within the Alabama Black Belt region, which includes 13 counties. Longtime supporter Martha Whitson with UACED said this year, the campaign hopes to reach even more children.
“We anticipate reaching our goal of collecting one book for every child within the region, a total of 42,000 books,” Whitson said. “The need is great for these kids, as it will help them develop a love of reading and the desire to continue learning.”
Today, Alabama's Black Belt includes some of the poorest counties in the United States. Along with high rates of poverty, declining populations, and high unemployment, poor access to educational resources is a major concern for the future of K-12 students in this region.
The 2018 campaign sponsors include the Culverhouse College of Commerce, Gorgas Library, Honors College, Tuscaloosa Public Library, UA Center for Economic Development, and UA Museums. The distribution of these books to school libraries within the 13 counties will begin in early summer.
For more information, and to see a list of appropriate books to donate, visit uaced.ua.edu/books-for-the-black-belt.