UA offers free books to Black Belt schools

Published 11:03 am Tuesday, February 6, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The University of Alabama is continuing its “Book Bonanza” initiative to help out schools and communities in Need.

The Book Bonanza will provide over $12,000 of book donations for school libraries throughout the Black Belt who are struggling financially. In addition, one other school from an economically disadvantaged area will receive books. The books can be for children or for young adults.

Interested schools in the Black Belt and other struggling financial areas must fill out the application form provided by UA. The cutoff date for applying is Feb. 23.

At least six schools will be selected, with each guaranteed to receive over $1,800 to use towards the purchasing of new books for the library.

The event began in 2009 with Dr. Jamie Naidoo, professor in UA’s School of Library and Information Studies.

Naidoo began this program after he saw a need for proper resources at depleting libraries in the Black Belt region.

“We focus on the Black Belt because we have discovered the schools usually receive less funding,” Naidoo said. “I know how hard it is to get money for new books. I used to be a school librarian myself.”

After applying, schools will be notified over their donation status on Feb. 28. Schools selected to receive book funding have until March 30 to pick up their books. The books must be picked up in Tuscaloosa, as there will be no exceptions for deliveries.

While the Book Bonanza may be one of the bigger programs UA’s SLIS coordinates all year, they contribute to Alabama libraries in other ways as well. In 2017, SLIS donated a record $22,641 in new books for schools on all three levels across the state.

Schools interested in applying for the book funds may view the application online at