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Book Desert Book Drive

By Ione Damasco

For the fourth year in a row, the University Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Team is teaming up again with The Conscious Connect and the student organization BATU (Black Action Thru Unity) to collect diverse books to end book deserts in Dayton. Some of you may be familiar with the problem of “food deserts” — urban areas without adequate access to affordable fresh fruit, vegetables, and other whole foods. Book deserts are also an issue of inadequate resources: a recent study at New York University has defined “book deserts” as high-poverty neighborhoods where access to children’s books is lacking.

This year the drive is focused on collecting books to support the My Brother’s Keeper initiative taking place in the Springfield City School District. We are seeking new or gently used books that affirm black boys and are appropriate for 3rd through 8th grade reading levels. Lists of recommended titles can be found on these two websites: First Book Marketplace and The Conscious Kid.

Books can be dropped off beginning Oct. 7 through Oct. 21 in the first floor lobby of Roesch Library.                                           

Many children in the wider Dayton and Springfield communities, particularly children of color, do not have access to the wide range of literature we take for granted on our campus. We hope you will help us ensure the right of every child to be able to read, and to see themselves reflected in what they read, by donating books to this book drive. 

For more information about the book drive, please contact Karlos L. Marshall at or Ione Damasco at

— Ione Damasco is coordinator of cataloging and chair of the Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Team.

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