See that box of books? Thanks to the generosity of a single anonymous “social worker from NYC who loves Uprise,” we were just able to Read more →
That’s how Andy Woodworth describes himself on his popular Agnostic, Maybe librarian blog. Others have called him a “Mover and Shaker.” We call him “one of the first supporters of our Kickstarter project.”
In a recent blog post, Andy wrote about why he decided to contribute to the Uprise Books Project (and why he thinks you should, too). In that post, Andy mentioned that he didn’t come to the decision lightly:
I have some reservations. I’m curious as to how the inevitable question regarding the role of parents (or lack of role, in some cases) will come into play. Will parents be a part of this process as a way to get their kids to read books that they feel they should be allowed to read but otherwise couldn’t afford? Will kids or teens be allowed to select or receive books without parental consent? For kids that don’t want to get books at their homes (or have temporary living arrangements), how will the books get to them?
While Andy obviously didn’t think those reservations were enough to keep him from supporting the cause, we believe they’re valid concerns worth addressing for the larger group.
Our intent is to allow teens to select and receive books without parental consent, in the spirit of American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights:
Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that only parents and guardians have the right and the responsibility to determine their children’s—and only their children’s—access to library resources. Parents and guardians who do not want their children to have access to specific library services, materials, or facilities should so advise their children.
In short, if a student fits our basic criteria (between the ages of 13 and 18, lives in the United States, and meets our income eligibility requirements), we’ll do our best to fulfill his/her requests for books. If a parent wants to withhold access from a particular title, that parent needs to do so by telling his own child directly, not by relying on outside organizations (schools, libraries, governments, or us).
However, that doesn’t mean we think parents should be cut out of the picture altogether. Indeed, even though the effect is lessened by the time students reach the age we focus on, there’s ample evidence that parental/caregiver involvement is linked to a child’s reading achievement. We’d love to help parents in any way we can, and that’s actually one of the main reasons we launched the campaign to fund the website: by automating as much of the actual order fulfillment process as possible, we’ll have more time for such outreach.
Finally, regarding shipping, we’ll initially send the requested books to anywhere in the US serves, whether that’s the student’s home address or some other safe place that can accept shipments on her behalf. Some of our future plans involve establishing relationships with schools in the hopes that we might be able to follow the models used by organizations like Scholastic and RIF, groups that either send all shipments directly to the schools or bring in the physical books from the start. That’s a long-term objective, though, that would require a much more extensive infrastructure.
There is a certain amount of dangerousness to this project, but I don’t think that it is a disqualification for support. In fact, I’d say that the project should be expanded to children and teens in crisis looking for books that reflect their situation, whether it is coming out as gay, dealing with domestic violence or sexual abuse, or coping with self destructive behaviors. I’d argue that those groups run the same risk as the children and teens in poverty since they are less likely to achieve higher education degrees without some form of intervention. (The teens killing themselves over their sexuality, their psychological problems, and their inability to cope do not even make it to the lifetime earning list.) I hope that this project may pivot to provide for those teens in the future, but in the meantime it does look to make inroads on behalf of literacy and the elimination of poverty.
We love this idea, though as with the in-the-schools concept mentioned above, it’s something we’d have to do down the road. For the immediate future, our limited resources will require us to focus on our initial target: impoverished teens.
That said, we do have plans to establish relationships with various underrepresented organizations to help promote titles that are significant to them. As Andy mentioned, a young adult dealing with his/her sexuality should have access to literature that helps him/her cope safely, but “homosexuality” is an oft-quoted reason for bans and challenges. We hope to partner with LGBT groups to help fund and fulfill orders for kids who need those books the most. Likewise, one can imagine logical partnerships to help distribute books banned because they were “offensive to religious beliefs” (code for anything from “witchcraft” to “Islam” to… well, I’m not sure how Captain Underpants fit that description…).
Have any questions, comments, or concerns of your own? Please feel free to contact us any time.
“Catcher in the Rye” Heads to Meek!
21 May 2013
The Uprise Books Project Wins Innovations in Reading Prize!
8 May 2013
We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that the Uprise Books Project was named one of the 2013 winners of Read more →
Books for Meek
7 May 2013
29 Apr 2013
Thanks from Dallas!
5 Apr 2013
Remember back in November when you all helped send 170 copies of “The Catcher in the Rye” to students at Read more →
- “Catcher in the Rye” Heads to Meek!
Donate with Amazon
Donate with PayPal
Like Us on Facebook