Readers of Guys Lit Wire, the group review blog I moderate, will likely remember our efforts last year to build up the library at Ballou Sr High School in Washington DC. Melissa Jackson, the school librarian, posted a video of the library that showed the extreme dearth of titles in her stacks. In early 2011 they had less than one book for each student, which is particularly alarming when you consider the American Library Association is 11:1. Through our efforts and those of many others the situation at Ballou has improved and there are now two books for each student. While that is certainly a good thing, it is far far (FAR) from where the Ballou Library should be. So, Guys Lit Wire is back this spring with a new wish list at Powells Books and a new call to help Ballou.
Head on over to GLW to read the full post, and find out exactly how you can buy a book (or more) to help this DC school. There are a few extra hoops to jump through going through Powells, but as you guys know, I'm a big fan of independent bookstores and all of us support what Powells does for the city of Portland. It only takes an extra minute to order from them and is well worth the effort.
On the list this year you will find a lot of manga and urban fiction, some great nonfiction and several adult crossover titles. There is historical fiction and paranormal romance and all the big books of the past few months plus a lot of graphic novels and some wonderful poetry. Every book on this list has been vetted by Melissa and is a title that the school wants and/or needs. This is a big part of what makes the GLW Book Fair so unique - we aren't sending Ballou books we want to get rid of but purchasing for them books they want to have.
The point, after all is not to clean out our closets.
The fair will run two weeks or less if we sell out early. There are over 500 books on the list, with a few titles (the less expensive manga) requesting more than one copy. (They will get a lot of use!) There are plenty of sale titles, lots for less than $10 and most for less than $20. If you can't buy a book we ask that you do please help us spread the word as far as wide as you are able. This is a senior high school in our nation's capitol and we are a critical source of their books. This is not a vanity project folks, not something to make us feel good. This is about stocking the shelves in a way that would not happen otherwise and it's also, as Melissa has told me more than once, a way to show these kids that they matter. You want to change the world today? Buy a book for Ballou and do something that will make a lot of kids and one happy librarian believe in miracles.
I love this project, and I love everything about all of you who make it so successful. Thanks so much for helping us do a very good thing. :)