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2nd Annual Book Desert Book Drive: Let?s End Book Deserts in the Miami Valley

By Ione Damasco

In a book drive at UD Oct. 9-16, the University Libraries’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the student organization Black Action Thru Unity (BATU) are working with a national literacy nonprofit to help remedy the Miami Valley’s book deserts — areas with diminished access to children's reading materials.

“Too often, the materials that children are required to read do not connect with and relate to their experiences,” said Karlos Marshall, academic development coordinator at UD’s Institute of Applied Creativity for Transformation and founder of The Conscious Connect, a nonprofit “urban library ecosystem” working to end urban book deserts by reimagining and redeveloping underutilized spaces for education, culture and peace.

Early access to reading materials can have a lasting positive impact on children’s cognitive development and can enhance their vocabulary, background knowledge and reading comprehension skills, as stated in a 2016 New York University news release about a study on the scarcity of children’s books in low-income neighborhoods.

The campus goal is to collect 1,500 culturally relevant children’s books for distribution in West Dayton and South Springfield, both considered book deserts. Collection bins will be available the week after fall break in Roesch Library; the Curriculum Materials Center on the sixth floor of Fitz Hall; RecPlex; ArtStreet; and the Counseling Center.

BATU and the Libraries are asking students, faculty and staff to share new or gently used K-12 books that feature diverse characters and topics or discuss STEM education and entrepreneurship. These print resources can be fiction or nonfiction — board books, picture books, chapter books and more.

Book suggestions

Suggested titles include:


For more information, contact Karlos Marshall or Rachel Barnett, chair of the University Libraries' Diversity and Inclusion Committee. For more information about The Conscious Connect, see its website.

Ione Damasco is an associate professor and coordinator of cataloging in Roesch Library and a member of the University Libraries’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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