Book drive aims to aid city schools

Literacy campaign goal is to help fill shelves at struggling libraries

July 14, 2005|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF

Mayor Martin O'Malley joined with public schools chief Bonnie S. Copeland yesterday to launch a campaign to collect books that will be donated to the Baltimore school system's struggling libraries.

"We have some great-looking libraries" in Baltimore's public schools, O'Malley said. "But you'll see a lot of bare shelves. This is a way we can fill these shelves."

The mayor's Believe in Our Schools book drive is being conducted in partnership with Barnes & Noble Booksellers, the school system, Enoch Pratt Free Library and Baltimore Reads, a nonprofit group that promotes literacy.

At a news conference at Barnes & Noble's Inner Harbor store, O'Malley, Copeland and Enoch Pratt Executive Director Carla D. Hayden encouraged the donations of books from residents throughout the region.

Hayden praised the mayor for getting behind the book drive as part of his effort to promote volunteer efforts aimed at improving public schools.

"Literacy is the highway to opportunity, and libraries are the on-ramps," Hayden said.

Copeland said the school system's financial struggles have forced it to cut spending on supplies and materials such as library books.

"These supplies have gone lacking," she said. "This initiative is absolutely critical."

Books can be dropped off at the Barnes & Noble stores in Towson and the Inner Harbor, at all public library branches in the city, and at additional events to be scheduled throughout the city. Barnes & Noble is also offering a 20 percent discount on books purchased for donations.

O'Malley said he was not setting a goal on the number of books sought through the campaign, and that the book drive would continue for as long as possible.

"We don't put a limit on how far we can go," the mayor said.

Anyone interested in donating books can also schedule a pickup by calling 410-396-1654.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.