Monday, April 16, 2012

Back to Ballou SR High School for the GLW Book Fair

ETA: The book fair ends at midnight PST, May 1st. Thank you!!!

Longtime readers will know that this time of year we here at GLW get to thinking about how we can help school libraries across the country build up their shelves. Last year we watched the video from Melissa Jackson, librarian at Ballou Sr High School in Washington DC and we knew we had to help. Between our spring book fair and a small holiday fair last November we have helped Ballou move from a library that had less than one book for each of its 1,200 students at the beginning of 2011 to a ratio now of two books per student. While this is an impressive achievement and something we are quite proud of, the American Library Association advocates ELEVEN books for each student. It's obvious that Ballou is still operating at a serious literary deficit and because of that we have decided to commit ourselves to the long haul and stay with this school library until they have everything they need.

A few things have changed at Ballou since the video was made last year. Not only did some much needed books come their way but the bankruptcy of Borders allowed the school to purchase some shelves and other fixtures to dress up their library space. (Those category signs in the above picture probably look really familiar to former Borders customers.) While the area looks fantastic, and the space is being used for an anime club and chess club and scrabble team and many other wonderful groups, the shelves are still way too empty. What we hope to do this spring is give Melissa some breathing room and allow her to use her very limited funds for more expensive reference materials while we pick up the slack and buy the popular titles. In that vein you will see that our Powells Wish List for Ballou (Here's the link if you want to embed it in a post: has a lot of manga, urban fiction, poetry, paranormal titles and a boatload of big sellers. (John Green, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Kristin Cashore and Paolo Bacigalupi are all front and center.) As a big fan of nonfiction I'm delighted to see books like Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar, Engineers (from DK Press) and Generation V: The Complete Guide to Going, Being and Staying Vegan as a Teenager on the list and there is also a healthy collection of adult crossover titles like The Book of Jonas, Clementine (Cherie Priest) and The Intuitionist (by Colson Whitehead). There is also a lot of urban fiction, as requested by the students, and since Melissa is working with a reading population that varies in literacy levels from 5th grade to college prep, we have liberally mined the resources of Saddleback publishing to discover books with older teen appeal but manageable reading levels.

As we have done in the past, Melissa vets the list from top to bottom and everything - every single book - is one that her students want and need. Powells is hosting it as part of our ongoing effort to support independent bookstores and everyone is welcome to spread the word as far and wide as possible.

We want to sellout guys, and we can't do it without a lot of help.

You can check out the list, make your selections for the school and please know while we prefer new it is perfectly fine to purchase used copies of a book (more bang for your buck). But 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
(202) 645-3400

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 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. Also be sure to follow @BallouLibrary on twitter where Melissa will be updating on books as they arrive and student reactions. You can also let her know what you have ordered - I'm sure she will be delighted to let the kids know what's coming their way.

As always, we here at GLW thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us in this effort. The book fair is one of the best examples of what we all believe in - getting as many books as possible into the hands of kids who need them. Please understand that for all of us and Melissa, this is not just about buying books but showing the students at Ballou that they matter and that to a lot of us out here in the world, far from Washington DC, they are very important indeed.

Buy a book, send a tweet, post on your blog or at facebook. Comment here and tell us what you've sent and where you are so we can celebrate the moment with you. Change the world today and over the next two weeks because you can. And don't forget how much we appreciate you for helping us make the book fair so successful.


AlisonG said...

Yay! I'm Alison Gresik, from Ottawa, Canada but currently living in Penang, Malaysia. I bought "Ultraviolet" by R.J. Anderson, a fellow Canadian :-) So glad to see the book fair back for another run. I love giving books.

Literaticat said...

Sooo... some of these are my client's books and I have multiple copies of them. I'd be happy to send along brand new copies to the school, but can somebody notate that so it gets taken off the list? (Unless they are fine with more than one copy?)

ASHES by Ilsa Bick
WANT TO GO PRIVATE by Sarah Darer Littman

And I happen to have multiple copies of GRAVE MERCY as well (though she isn't my client)

Colleen said...

No worries, Jenn - email me and we'll sort it out. (I imagine two copies of GRAVE MERCY probably wouldn't be a bad thing based on the reviews I've been reading...)

Trisha said...

I bought:

Jodie said...

I bought:

Bleach #01
Crown Duel
Heist Society
Saving the Baghdad Zoo
You Don't Even Know Me
The Zookeeper's Wife

Uk lady here :)

Elizabeth said...

Hello I ordered three books for the library. I got to your website from a link on the Happiness Project blog to Gwenda Bond's blog to your blog.

I will send the link to some book loving friends.

Good luck.

Jessica said...

Glad to be supporting Ballou High School again. I bought a copy of Ernest Cline's 'Ready Player One'. I absolutely loved this book, and I'm hoping the students will as well. :)

I'll share a link on my blog to help get the word out about the fair.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Sent three not on the list but from my author copies inventory. Hope they enjoy nonetheless!

Good luck with the noble effort.

Doret said...

I donated

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Hot Girl by Dream Jordan

Bad Boy by Dream Jordan

Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph

Melanie said...

I bought Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell and Hellboy vol 1. I've enjoyed both myself and hope the kids do!

Dave Cullen said...

Great project. My book, "Columbine," is not on your list, but I'd be happy to buy a copy from Powell's and send it if you're interested.

(And I do skypes with schools frequently. I'd also be open to doing a session with some of your kids if any interest there. My email is dave @ )

Colleen said...

Authors - thanks for offering to send your books but please remember that the list was created based on books that Ballou wants and needs. If your book is not on the list then it might already be on the shelves or it just might not be a good fit for these students. Either way, we really appreciate your interest and support and hope that you will consider purchasing one of the books on the list.

Kelly Jensen said...

There is a copy of LEVERAGE by Joshua Cohen on its way from me!

Kate said...

I love this - found the link on Gwenda Bond's blog.

I purchased:

The McElderry Book of Greek Myths
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Best of luck!

Rosanne said...

Just ordered 2 Virginia Euwer Wolff's book and Jennifer Bradbury's. I have a spare hard cover of Second Fiddle so I'll send that along separately.

A big thumbs up from my manga-loving high schooler for your awesome choices!

elswhere said...

Just ordered BZRK by Michael Grant and THE REEL TRUTH by Reed Martin.

Colleen said...

Thanks guys and Rosanne please tell your daughter that the killer manga choices were very much due to her assistance!

Anonymous said...

Finally got to this! I'm Melissa ZD in Denver and I am a read-NF-for-pleasure person so I had fun buying:

The Best Art You've Never Seen
The Elephant Scientist
The Man Who Went to the Far Side of the Moon
The Other Wes Moore

oh, and Ysabel because Guy Gavriel Kay rocks.

NG said...

I donated:
Lover's Dictionary
Everybody Sees The Ants
Tale of Time City
Breaking Dawn (Cutting Edge)
Hellboy #2 - Wake the Devil