Sunday, May 1, 2011
Guys Lit Wire Book Fair for Ballou Senior High School
ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to problems with blogger last week we are extending the fair through Friday, May 20th!
It is with an enormous amount of excitement that I can announce this year’s Guys Lit Wire Book Fair! We will be working with Powells Books again, this time to send books to the east coast to Ballou Senior High School in Washington D.C. Ballou is very special to me as school librarian Melissa Jackson made such an eloquent case for her students’ need for more books. Her video, which shows so many empty shelves, really gave me reason to pause. There are probably more books in my house then Ballou has in this video and that is wrong in so many ways that I don’t even know where to begin.
At the time the video was made early this year there were just over 1,150 books on the shelves at Ballou; there are over 1,200 students in the school. So there was barely one book for each student (the ALA standard is 11:1). The WaPo ran an article about Ballou in January and I have seen a few follow-ups here and there (National Geographic sent over a bunch of books) but what struck me in all the efforts to help is what always hits me - people send books they have (publishers do the same) which is lovely, but not necessarily the books that the school needs or, most importantly of all, the students want. That’s where we come in and why we keep doing this, and loving it, every single year.
Melissa and I have exchanged many emails and spoken on the phone and the message is clear - they need many different types of books, many specific titles and many different versions of any given story. For example, HAMLET, a high school staple, is on the wish list, but you will find it in its original form, in the “No Fear Shakespeare” edition which includes a modern translation and in manga form for reluctant readers. Both versions of OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA are here as well as FAST FOOD NATION and THE WEATHERMAKERS. Very nearly every book in the Scientists in the Field series is listed as well as SAT study guides. Ballou has students who read on a fifth grade level and those who are in college prep courses. The range is wide, the interests varied and the need is tremendous. They want street lit and manga as well as nonfiction on nutrition, geography, history and more. They want a ton of poetry and drama with very specific authors in mind. They want graphic novels. They want Arthur C. Clark, Douglas Adams and Ray Bradbury. They want Neil Gaiman, Sherman Alexie, Nikki Grimes and John Green; vampires and romance and humor. Hundreds of books to fill empty shelves; they want hundreds and hundreds of books.
We’re going to make that happen.
For those of you who have been with us before, the drill has been streamlined a bit (thanks to Greg Pincus!) Here is the direct link to the wish list at Powells. (And if you want to share it: http://bit.ly/GLWBookFair)
The Ballou Sr High School list will open with 900 books to choose from. You can view them by title or author (don’t be afraid if it looks like a series book is missing - sometimes they have co-authors listed by the publisher - this happens with Neil Gaiman a lot - but I promise they are all there or will show up as the series is purchased). We have a mix of paper and hardcover for a reason - obviously hardcovers will last the longest in a library but we wanted to be sure that folks with any size budget can contribute. There are books ranging in price from $2.98 to $60 - and many many titles with excellent sale prices. Many of the paperbacks will be used in classrooms or could even end up as awards for worthy students. Regardless, all will be read, all will be appreciated and all will be valued and we really can’t ask for more than that.
It is perfectly fine to purchase used copies of a book (more bang for your buck) but please check and make sure the book is in “standard” used condition and not “student owned” (you will have to click on the title and leave the wish list to check this). The “student owned” copies are very cheap for a reason - they are written in and thus not a good choice for this effort.
Once you have made your selections head to “checkout” and you will be prompted to inform Powells if the books were indeed bought from the wishlist. This lets the store know to mark them as “purchased” on the list. After that you need to provide your credit card info and also fill in the shipping address. Here is where the books are going to:
Melissa Jackson, LIBRARIAN
Ballou Senior High School
3401 Fourth Street SE
Washington DC 20032
It’s very important that you get Melissa’s name and title in there - she is not the only Jackson (or Melissa) at the school and we want to make sure the books get to the library.
After all that you buy the books and you’re done! Please head back over here when you get a chance though and leave a comment letting us know who you are, where you’re from and what you bought. Starting tomorrow I will have a continuously updated post listing everyone’s purchases so we can see the books flying their way to our nation’s capitol. I’ll be in constant touch with Melissa too so I can let you all know how things go on her end. The book fair will run until Friday, May 20th and we'll keep you updated on things even after it shuts down. (Hopefully as a sellout.)
As always, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your dollars spent on books and your time spent blogging, tweeting and emailing about the book fair. This is a labor of love for all of us - it’s a way to give back to the world some of what books and libraries have given to each of us. This is how we make our mark, one kid at a time, one book at a time, one tiny miracle when it all comes together.
You guys are awesome; now please help us show Ballou Senior High just how powerful the written word can be.