By: Zachary Krakauer Ganz and Lydia Heisel
In this digital age, some teens might not consider a book drive to be a “novel” idea. But for a group of five sophomores in Austin High School’s Global Studies program, BookSpring’s “20 books by 2020” challenge recently proved to be an inspiring and rewarding experience.
Tasked with doing a project to help tackle educational inequality in their community, the group researched the issue in various ways. After surveying one hundred people and interviewing leaders in education about their viewpoints on educational inequality, the group wanted to make a difference in students’ lives. The strong connection between early literacy intervention and academic success drew their attention to BookSpring.
At the Austin High campus, they launched a three-week campaign using a specially designed logo, flyers and posters, morning announcements, and an Instagram account. Individual team members used the Nextdoor social networking app, Facebook, and door-to-door solicitation to spread the word and collect books from the community.
By targeting their school, neighborhoods, and their own bookshelves, the group ultimately delivered over 1,100 new and gently used children’s books – enough to provide 20 books to 55 Central Texas families in need. Sifting through the stacks of books, the sophomores reflected on familiar titles and how much they meant to them when they were younger. They hoped the books would make a lasting impression on their next owners.
Still too young to vote and unable to take part in volunteer opportunities that conflicted with school hours, the group found the book drive to be a pragmatic way to make an impact on educational inequality. The 2020 connection to their high school graduation year added meaningful incentive.
To learn more about the 20 books by 2020 vision visit: www.20booksby2020.org