High School Library NEEDS BOOKS. How You Can Help.

***NOTE**** New address to ship books. Below.

While I was in classes a few weeks ago, I had this huge (kinda funny to me) realization. All week everyone kept talking about community. Saying "this is the place you'll build a lifeline." All week I was that smug girl who's said to myself: I have that. Because I do have that. I have it in bloggers, in readers, in writers, in authors, in twitter. I know I have people.

I know I'm part of a community that bans together to stand up for literary injustice, backlash, plagarism and everything in between. We build hashtags on twitter and give small ideas a way to be big. We're awesome.

That's why when the director of my MFA program sent us an email about a book drive, I knew I had to bring the need to my community. This community. Why? Well...
"The literature section of Ballou Senior High School's library in Washington, DC has 63 books, not enough to fill five small shelves. In the area marked "Pure Science," there are 77 volumes. The generally accepted standard for school libraries is 11 books for each of Ballou's 1,104 students."

It's completely unacceptable that a high school is lacking a basic need of life, a need that opens the doors to education, creativity and imagination---books. And this is the time for all of us to step up, to ban together, to help out. No matter what genre you read, because they need everything.

This selection I take out of the email from my program director because he says it better than I ever could.

"It's a challenge for kids to take their literacy seriously when they don't even have books to read. Ballou is located in the most dangerous ward in our nation's capitol. Right now, the library serves as a physical safe space and a refuge for students in off school hours, but wouldn't it be great if they had something to read while they were there--even choices across genre?....This is not the only school in the country with needs, but when the flare went up we saw it and chose to respond."
What they need:

Everything.  From Shakespeare to Octavia Butler to Richard Wright. Fantasy, sci-fi, YA, adult fiction, history books, poetry, classic literature, science. Basically anything and everything that's suitable for high school. They will take anything as long as it is in GOOD condition and has no writing in it. 

I've asked if they would accept ARCs (new and old), and the director of the book drive, Lisa, said YES. Please note however, that this they really need finished copies. ARCs are fantastic, but the lasting value isn't always standing.

How to donate:

If you have books you want to give, please mail them directly to:

The Art of Living Center
International Association for Human Values
c/o Filiz Odabas-Geldiay
2401 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

There should be a note inside donation boxes that says:
Green Line Initiative Book Drive 
attn: Lisa Pegram
They will be accepting books until August 22!! 

Also, if you'd like to include some kind of quick note for the kids, words of encouragement, that would be awesome!! But it's not mandatory.

Spread the word!

Reblog this post on your blog. Tweet this post. (we're on twitter at #HSBookDrive) Tell everyone. Send books.

This is a chance for our community to step up, to reach out and to provide teens with books. This is why we are here so I challenge you to be part of this. If you can, if you have even one book or a stack of books from that project you finished a year ago, give them. Donating books is not really about the book, but about what happens when someone reads a book. And not even having a chance to read a book is completely devastating to me. I can't even imagine my life without books.

I hope you will help!! Even if you can't send a book--tweet, tell others, and take action.


  1. Just found this post via Twitter. I'm the buyer at a local bookstore in Charelston, WV and am packing up 1 copy each of our top 20 required reading titles to ship today.

    THANK YOU for putting this out there!!

  2. Michael Buckley re-posted this on Facebook. I personally own more than 63 books. That's not counting what my husband and children own. I am headed downstairs too look for appropriate books now and re-posting this on my blog. totallyquackers.blogspot.com

  3. I saw this on Nikki's blog at Wicked Awesome Books. It made me tear up. I send books out each month to different places. I send to an Indian Reservation in SD, I bring to the local JDC and I always have my eyes open for new places to send books where they are desperately needed. I'd say they are desperately needed there and I have a large box I'll be sending them. Thanks so much for spreading the word. I hope that we can help them get MANY more books! I'll blog about it tomorrow too ;)

  4. I've posted this on my blog (mymercurialmusings.com) and am going to be scouring my own library as well as reaching out to the librarian at the HS where I teach to see if we have any books we can donate from the school.

  5. Hi Danielle!

    I reposted this on my blog as well (http://readersrefuge.blogspot.com/2011/07/high-school-book-drive.html) and tweeted about it. I hope we can fill up their library!

  6. Why are they only accepting books until the 22nd? If they only have 63 books, I would expect they'd keep this drive open at least until the of the year. Or indefinitely.

  7. Hi. I realize this is way after the fact but I was wondering if you still needed donations? My writing group is looking to sponsor and support a school library.


Thanks for your comment!! I appreciate you stopping by! :)