At Winter Institute 2020 in Baltimore, the American Booksellers Association will be collecting books from attendees to donate to the Maryland Book Bank, a local nonprofit organization committed to getting free books into the hands of young people and cultivating literacy in children from under-resourced neighborhoods.
Maryland Book Bank Program Manager Kim Crout said the books the nonprofit distributes are primarily children’s titles and will go to kids and teachers. For the Winter Institute Book Drive, the nonprofit is seeking books featuring minority characters, popular elementary picture books and graphic novels, elementary and easy reading chapter books, and titles in Spanish, but would prefer not to receive encyclopedia sets or textbooks older than 10 years.
In general, the Maryland Book Bank accepts books of all reading levels and genres in good condition, so all donated books will find a good home. Children’s books through YA are distributed to young readers through the organization’s book bank and bookmobile programs, and adult books are sold through a social enterprise bookselling operation with proceeds benefitting those donation programs.
“Our book collection partnership with ABA is vital to allowing our organization to distribute thousands of free books in the community,” Crout told Bookselling This Week. “We rely on donors to help us place books into the hands of children who desperately need them, and we appreciate ABA’s willingness to support our programming.”
Over the previous 20 years, as part of the local nonprofit Baltimore Reads, the Book Bank provided more than 1.8 million books to children, teachers, schools and other organizations, and eventually grew to include the Home Library Program for local second grade students in participating schools. The Maryland Book Bank acquired the Book Bank and its related programs in 2014.