Schools can apply for book donations from authors, bloggers and booksellers via a new scheme set up by Maz Evans, the the author of the Who Let the God’s Out? series (Chicken House).
Book Buddy matches people who have surplus children’s books with schools who “desperately need them”, Evans told the Bookseller. She was inspired to set up the scheme after seeing the effects of “devastating budget cuts” in schools.
“I regularly visit schools that only have reading books because the staff have bought them - some have none at all,” she said. “Libraries are (rightly) statutory in prisons, but not in schools. So we have children growing up in the UK who stand a better chance of having access to books if they are convicted of a crime, than attending their primary school. It’s a disgrace.”
People who have donated books so far include authors Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Patrice Lawrence, Lisa Thompson, James Nicol, Lissa Evans and Alwyn Hamilton, along with book bloggers, booksellers, reviewers and publications. They can donate good quality used books or buy new copies.
Interested parties can sign up via the website, which was created by Waterstones bookseller Stephen Baird. More than 300 schools registered their interest in the first 48 hours, said Evans.
“There is no limit to how many schools can sign up - I just hope that enough Book Buddy donors come forward to fill the need," she added. "Schools register on the site, then anyone who wants to be a Book Buddy can contact them and make arrangements to give them the books. I am also matching people up via twitter if they have a specific type of donation they want to make.”
However, Evans does not intend that the donations fill the gap left by inadequate government funding. “It’s a disgrace and I am trying (unsuccessfully) to start a conversation with education minister Damian Hinds about what he intends to do about it,” she said.