UA drive raises books for the Black Belt

The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development will be accepting book donations to help schools in the Alabama Black belt.

By Jessica Ramsey
News Reporter

TUSCALOOSA — The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development is accepting books for the Alabama Books for the Black Belt Book Drive.

This drive started on January 21 and continues until February 18. The book drive will be accepting award-winning books that are found on K-12 reading lists.

“Books for the Black Belt has been operating for 14 years, and this is my second year doing it,” said Hannah Arendsen, project manager for Books for the Black Belt. “It was started because there is a large disparity in Alabama’s Black Belt, which includes some of the poorest counties in the United States. There are high rates of poverty and limited access to educational resources.”

This book drive is also to improve literacy within the Black Belt, a 13-county region in west Alabama.

“Poverty has led to extremely low literacy rates, and we hope that donating these books will help instill a love of reading to these students,” Arendsen said.

Lynsey Tiller and Keoshane Allen, both students at UA, decided to donate books.

“I believe that every child should be able to have a book, especially in school,” Allen said.

Tiller said, “I think it’s great that they’re doing this book drive, especially if it can help improve the kids’ literacy.”

Donation boxes will be placed at Bidgood Hall, Gorgas Library, Nott Hall, Doster Hall, Center for Service and Leadership (Ferguson Center, Room 1100), Smith Hall, and Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum. Books can also be dropped off at UACED.

The drive will begin to deliver the books in March to schools in 13 counties that are in the Black Belt region.  

Last year the book drive raised and donated 5,000 books. This year organizers would love to raise 30,000 books, one for every child in Alabama’s Black Belt.