Airlift to LA
Canadian author Helaine Becker is spearheading a campaign that will see Canadian books fill the shelves of needy school libraries in the Los Angeles area.
School libraries across North America are in dire straits. In the worst shape of all are schools in the United States in poor districts. Not only have teacher-librarians virtually disappeared from them, but so have the books. Shelves are literally empty; books that are on the shelves are woefully out of date and simply a disgrace. For some children, the school library is the only place they will ever see, touch or read a book. How can we expect to cultivate a love of learning in kids who realize from the get-go that separate is not equal, and despite Brown vs. the Bd. of Education, separation (of rich and poor, lucky and unlucky) is the norm across our continent? How can we teach them that they can really be part of the North American dream, and not just the walking talking nightmare of a society gone wrong?
In an attempt to draw attention to the sad state that many school libraries have fallen to, Helaine Becker is collecting books by Canadian authors and publishers to send to some of the most poorly served school libraries in Los Angeles. Helaine has partnered with NPR columnist Sandra Tsing-Loh and Rebecca Constantino, founder of Access Books, which organizes book drives and funding for underserviced school libraries.
It’s important to point out that conditions here in Canada are far from perfect. There are plenty of school libraries here that also suffer from neglect. The hope is that this gesture will bring much needed attention to the need for stronger support of school library programs on both sides of the border.
Please visit Helaine Becker’s blog or the Airlift to LA Facebook group for more information on this initiative and how you can help. In addition to books, money is needed to cover the cost of shipping the books from Toronto to L.A..