Posted by admin on 08.29.2007 at 7:38 pm
This past year Villanova University’s Habitat for Humanity in conjunction with the Villanova bookstore collected the surplus books on their campus to support Books for Africa.
The word spread so completely on campus that Villanova staff later dropped off books at our collection center over the summer while in Indiana .
Read their impressions of Better World Books in action:
“I wanted to let you know that I did end up stopping by Better World Books on my way to Chicago . The organization is wonderful and they were very helpful taking my books and asked for the organization who informed me of them. I would definitely encourage Villanova to use them for a book drive in the future – they were very efficient and organized. I feel like it’s so cool seeing a place you donate to, up close and personal, so I am passing along these photos!”
“My club adviser for Habitat sent me pictures of your center in Indiana from a colleague of hers who also went to drop off boxes. She returned boasting about the large scale organization and incredible mission statement of Better World Books-and the pictures were really something to see. I was surprised at just how many books you had! I just wanted to send that back to you and let you know again how happy we are to be working with you and how everyone who learns more about BWB is only that much more impressed with it.”
Posted by admin on 08.27.2007 at 6:13 am
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel with the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL), to Santa Rosa School, located on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation in the Sonoran Desert. Our goal for the trip was to learn more about the Family and Child Education (FACE) program that is hosted by the school and to help prepare for the first day of classes!
Our first day was spent preparing the school for the students. We helped teachers with their classrooms, arranged books in the library, set-up computers, and even had a chance to enjoy the nice summer weather!
A little yard work never hurt anyone!
Pictured: Aaron King and Walter Sears
Days two and three were devoted to spending time in the classrooms. We had a chance to meet a number of FACE parents and children, and to gain a better understanding of the program and the impact it has on these families.
Overall, the trip was a great experience. I came away with a greater appreciation of the impact that programs, such as FACE, can have on promoting literacy.
A special thanks to the students and teachers for the opportunity to visit Santa Rosa School.
Posted by admin on 08.21.2007 at 5:14 am
It is what we at Better World Books are all about in our mission to actively promote literacy on four continents.
We partner with non-profit partners who know how to stretch a dollar and get things done. Solid track records. Passion that is laser-focused and results driven. Promotion of self-sustaining, long term, scalable solutions on how to bring literacy and education to the highest at-risk communities here in the U.S. and around the world.
Better World Books delivers it, measures it, inspects it. We have been to Africa with our partner Books for Africa. We have been in Mexico City with our partner Worldfund. We see first hand what our partners are doing and how they are making a difference… one book, one library, one classroom, one child at a time.
Earlier this month a small group of us had the opportunity to get a very close look at the work of one of our non-profit literacy partners, The National Center for Family Literacy (“NCFL”), on a Native American Indian Reservation in Arizona. Eight Better World Books employees joined three NCFL staff members on the Tohono O’odham Reservation to look closely at the FACE (Family and Child Education) Program; a federal program sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Education and NCFL on reservations throughout the United States.
Tohono O’odham Nation Facts:
- Comparable in size to the state of Connecticut (more than 2.8 million acres) and is the third largest Indian reservation in the U.S.
- Total population is approximately 24,000 people living on the reservation
- Per capita income is $3,113 (compared with more than $14,000 nationally), the lowest of all U.S. reservations
- 65.7% of the population is below the poverty level (compared to 13.1% nationally)
- 62.7% of the adult population is unemployed
- 47% of households have no telephone
- 29% lack plumbing
- 47% have no vehicle
Enter NCFL and the FACE Program being delivered at the Santa Rosa Boarding and Day School on the reservation. The FACE Program essentially has three components:
1. Prenatal and early childhood education: FACE team members visit the homes of expecting mothers and provide education on prenatal care, nutrition, and the importance of reading to the child (even when the baby is in the womb and certainly in the very early years leading up to formal school). FACE team members stay very close to the mother and child in these first few years of the child’s life and encourage the parent(s) to then bring the child to the School to begin the second phase of the FACE Program.
2. The parent(s) will then bring their young child/children, typically age 2-4, to the School. FACE actually contracts with existing schools on the reservation (like Santa Rosa) to provide for: a) Transportation – mother and child typically ride the school bus with the older children; b) Meals – breakfast and lunch are served at the school; c) Space – the School has to free up the space to accommodate both the child and the parent(s) for each of their programs; and d) Full and part time instructors and all related educational materials. The children are brought to one room for their day of learning, fun and activities.
We were privileged to meet Sandra Schafer here… the full time instructor for the children as well as her assistant, Lillian Wood. Sandra is a gifted and experienced teacher who has taught in Poland and China. She brings a high level of enthusiasm and knowledge to the Santa Rosa FACE classroom… and it is clear that Lillian has a very calming, nurturing presence in the classroom with these children. All of us were able to meet the children and interact with them in the classroom; several BWB employees (along with NCFL staff) also helped Sandra and Lillian get their classroom ready for the children (we arrived the day before school opened for the new year). Better World Books also delivered approximately 200 children’s books from its Indiana warehouse to Sandra and Lillian’s program… some of which were permanent “take home gifts” for the children at the end of their first day of school.
3. Once the parent(s) has dropped off their child with Sandra for the day, they go to their own room across the hall with Sister Val (Valerie Beuke, from the school Sisters of Notre Dame; home province in Saint Louis, MO).
Sister Val, who has been actively involved in teaching on Indian Reservations for 23 years, is a deeply committed teacher of the “Adult Ed” component of the FACE Program… working directly with the parents of the children to help them obtain their GED certification, or simply improve their literacy skills and get them better prepared for more advanced education and/or certain employment opportunities. We were all able to meet and interact with Sister Val’s students and BWB also delivered approximately 150 books to be used by Sister Val in this part of the program.
In addition to being able to really get to see and understand the FACE Program in action and better appreciate NCFL’s role in sponsoring and helping to architect the program, we all had the chance to pitch in and help get the Santa Rosa School itself “in shape” for the opening of school. My thanks to Walter, Aaron, Sarah Lynne, Jacob, Damara, Abby and Geoff for the tremendous work you all did in cutting grass, cleaning and landscaping the area around the dorm (not easy in 105 degree heat!), picking up trash, getting rid of graffiti, moving furniture, adjusting desks, putting furniture together, sorting books, organizing some basketball activities during recess, reading to and spending time with the children, helping out in the classroom itself (primarily first grade class), hooking up computers in some of the classrooms, and lots of other activities over the three days we spent at Santa Rosa.
We were humbled by the experience… especially the amazing enthusiasm and tremendous sacrifice and commitment that we saw so clearly in the teachers, administrators (Keith, Linda, Norma… and “Coach”), and staff (we certainly want to thank all those in the school cafeteria who helped prepare meals each day for the students as well as ourselves during “lunch period”). And we will never forget the children and their parents… their smiles and warmth and sincere hospitality and appreciation for our efforts… as well as their determined efforts to try to improve their lives… and the lives of their children… by taking advantage of FACE and the opportunities they know will only come with more education. In so many ways, whether it is here in Tohono O’odham Nation, Tanzania, Mexico or Nepal… it is for these moments that we do what we do at Better World Books. Better World Books will now be sending books to Santa Rosa on a regular basis… doing what we can to try and make a difference and open up the world of possibility for the parents and children of Santa Rosa and the FACE Program.
David Murphy, President and CEO
Posted by admin on 08.20.2007 at 1:13 pm
Two members of Better World Books’ growing Antiquarian, Rare, and Collectable Department (ARC), Ryan van Plew-Cid and Rudy Reyes Jr., along with Dustin Holland, Director of the Library Division, recently attended the 29th Annual Antiquarian Book Seminars in Colorado Springs , Colorado , directed by Rob Rulon-Miller Jr., proprietor of Rulon-Miller Books and internationally acclaimed rare book dealer.
The Seminar, begun in 1978, featured experts from every aspect of the booktrade, from internet selling to accounting, from bookmaking and preservation to shipping, and from database management to bibliography and cataloguing. In addition to Rulon-Miller, the faculty included Prof. Terry Belanger, Honorary Curator of Special Collections and Director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia and Daniel De Simone, Curator of the Lessing Collection at the Library of Congress.
Highlights of the week included Old Books and New Technology: The View from Here, the keynote presentation by former labour under-secretary Marty Manley, Chairman and CEO of Alibris. Manley’s presentation focused the week around the promise of books in general for society and the place of booksellers in the social and economic landscape. Also, an interesting workshop on book preservation and conservation was led by Angela Scott of Fine Binding & Custom Design in the District of Columbia . Scott had numerous exempla of raw materials for book making and demonstrated the techniques for binding and covering books.
Future professional development opportunities for ARC include an upcoming visit to the University of Notre Dame Libraries ’ Special Collections Department, Rare Book Room, and Reyniers Preservation Facility.
For more information on Better World’s ARC Department, please contact us at ARC@BetterWorldBooks.com or see our ARC FAQs.
Posted by Jack on 08.17.2007 at 2:09 pm
Check out the following letter from Pat Plonski, Executive Director of Books for Africa!
Hello everyone–It is my honor to inform you that Books For Africa has just signed a memorandum of understanding with Visions in Action to ship 25 40-foot seacontainers of textbooks to Liberia. This agreement will provide for the shipping of between 875,000 – 1,000,000 textbooks (550 tons) valued at approximately $4 million over the course of the next 12 months. Books For Africa history. This agreement with Visions In Action stems from a meeting I held in Monrovia with Visions in Action in January of this year where this concept was established. USAID is also playing a role in the financing of this project. I will be traveling to Liberia in October or November of this year as part of a Books For Africa / Better World Books delegation to meet with Visions In Action, and Liberian government officials, and other key players to formally initiate this project. Thank you everyone for your great support of Books For Africa. This is exciting news. The need for books of all types is very great in Liberia and this is an opportunity to help rebuild this country and give hope to the people there.
Posted by Jack on 08.17.2007 at 1:55 pm
Che out the the following article, featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about why textbooks cost so much. Below are some key points, draw your own conclusions.
By Kenneth S. Saladin for the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/16/07
As a college biology professor and author —- someone who is both a creator of textbooks and a consumer when I order them for my students —- I know how vital the latest and most comprehensive materials are for obtaining a proper education in today’s increasingly high-tech and competitive global job market. I am also more conscious than most of how much work goes into researching, writing and producing a quality textbook.
The first edition of my book, “Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function,” took me four years and seven months to research, write, review and revise. And that was only the beginning. Even before the most current edition of one of my books is off the press, I’m already compiling notes for the next edition —- keeping up with advances in the science and adapting the writing and artwork to my classroom experience and feedback from users elsewhere. Revising the book takes between eight and 12 months, usually working nights and weekends to meet deadlines.
Time is not my only investment. The full-color visuals for the first edition of “Anatomy & Physiology” cost my publisher nearly $1 million, and continue to cost as much as six figures… Other costs involved… include updating the ancillary products, such as DVDs, Web sites, overhead transparencies and instructor’s manuals designed to accompany the book. These materials are free to the professor… but the costs of their development and revision every three years are included in the price paid by the student.
People sometimes ask me: “Why bring out new editions so often? How much can human anatomy change in three years?” …Every week brings new insights into the form and function of the human body, not to mention changes in the international terminology of the field… I subscribe to 14 scientific and medical journals and must keep my reference library updated… By the time I had settled into the actual deadline-driven writing of my latest edition, I had already compiled almost 100 pages of ideas for content changes, scientific updates and improving the clarity of the prose and illustrations.
Textbooks also cost more today because… Publishers are now providing more and more supplementary materials… Add-ons, now include extensive textbook-specific Web sites —- some offering personal tutoring and computerized testing —- online course material and student study aids in multiple formats, including print, CD-ROM, DVD and Web-based materials.
The textbook market is intensely competitive. If a publisher is not constantly updating books and finding new materials to bundle with them, its competitors will, and they’ll be the ones to win favor with demanding professors and students.
Posted by admin on 08.16.2007 at 7:48 pm
This week, The Boston Globe published an article highlighting the work of the Responsible Endowments Coalition, a non profit organization that works with college students across the country to foster social and environmental change through university endowments.
The REC’s work to create responsible investment practices at universities mirrors Better World Books commitment to social entrepreneurship that creates a positive social and environmental change.
Click here to read the Boston Globe article.
Posted by admin on 08.15.2007 at 3:43 pm
Last week I had the opportunity to visit a school on the Tohono O’odham Nation reservation in Arizona, along with a delegation of Better World Books & National Center for Family Literacy staff. We were lucky to see firsthand some of the fantastic “Realebooks” created by families participating in the FACE program.
The book project is a wonderful component of the FACE (Family And Child Education) program, sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Education & the National Center for Family Literacy. One program at the Sioux Nation in South Dakota won an award for their participation.
These covers are examples of books created at 9 FACE programs across the country – visit the Bureau of Indian Education’s Realelibrary page to flip through over 50 of these handmade books.
Stay tuned for more postings about our experience at the Santa Rosa school!
Posted by admin on 08.14.2007 at 10:14 am
USA Today just published a letter written by Sharon Darling, the president & founder of the National Center for Family Literacy. The letter was in response to an article last week (8/9/07, “Hispanic growth extends eastward“) about Hispanic population growth in the U.S. – here’s an excerpt:
…Questions were raised about how this population pattern will affect school budgets and how newcomers can be transformed into workers and taxpayers. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the statistics: The nation’s largest and fastest growing minority is also the only one that experienced a decline in literacy from 1992 to 2003. It’s no coincidence, then, that in 2001, Hispanic dropout rates were about four times higher than those for whites. But the dropout rate for Hispanic students who speak English well is only 16%, compared with 59% for those who do not, according to a 2003 report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
The key to meeting the immediate and long-term needs of this population is to focus on intergenerational learning. The National Center for Family Literacy has piloted programs in large cities with substantial Hispanic populations … Family literacy is a solution on which everyone can agree.
Click here to read the article in full on USA Today’s website.
Posted by admin on 08.13.2007 at 11:20 am
Room to Read’s summer newsletter is now available online! It’s packed with articles about the launch of their Room to Grow girls’ scholarship program in Laos, a local lanuage publishing conference in Nepal, a panel on traditional African storytelling and Room to Read’s plans for International Literacy Day, coming up September 8th.
There’s also a great article about the Better World Books/Room to Read partnership – from now till the end of the year, $5 from the sale of every Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book on www.BetterWorld.com will go to funding the establishment of libraries in Nepal and Sri Lanka! Our goal is to raise $15,000 to construct 5 libraries, so if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, click here to get one today!
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