Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

School of Social Work hosts book drive to support literacy initiatives

Courtesy of the School of Social Work

The University’s School of Social Work’s Diversity Committee is hosting a book drive until March 1 for Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.  

The drive began on Jan. 15. 

Intended to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy and to support ongoing literacy initiatives, the drive seeks to provide books for students’ personal libraries. The books will be donated to MLK Elementary during Read Across America Week, an annual reading motivation and awareness program celebrated from March 2-6. 

Avani Shah, associate professor, said the drive began a few years ago when the department received a request to update the books in the MLK Elementary’s library. The school said there had not been an update to its library books for many years. 

“We teamed up with the UA English Department one of the years and were successful in updating their library,” Shah wrote. “The request for books continued each year as they wanted the students to take books home as some students did not have books of their own. Teachers also wanted to provide books to encourage reading and reinforce students.”  

Leah Cheatham, associate professor, said this year’s book drive will help young students understand social values.   

“Our School is committed to enhancing the well-being of all within our community, and early reading skills are consistently associated with later educational success among youth,” Cheatham wrote. “This opportunity to promote literacy (and a love of reading) among young people within our community aligns with our social work values of service and social justice, ensuring that children have access to books — both at school and in their homes.” 

She said this is the fourth year the department has held this book drive and that it hopes to continue partnering with the elementary school and engage in activities with them for years to come. 

Shayla Smith, School of Social Work chief diversity officer and senior instructor, said this book drive will incentivize literacy because it will reward students for their achievements by allowing them to pick a donated book out from a vending machine.  

Smith said that teachers will hand out tokens to students so that they can “purchase” books from vending machines that are on display in the hallways of the elementary school.  

“The book selections are on display in the vending machines which are positioned in the hallways. It’s a wonderful strategy to associate touches of fun and excitement about reading.” Smith wrote.  

Donations can be dropped off at Little Hall or ordered through an Amazon wish list where they can be directly shipped to the School of Social Work. Contact Leah Cheatham with any questions.  

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