MAALL Book to Action

MAALL Book to Action is a service project that brings MAALL together to read a common title and benefit the community in which the Annual Meeting is hosted by providing books to those who need them.

2019 Book to Action Program

In your line-up of summer reading, please add the MAALL Book to Action title: They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Wesley Lowery. This books provides a boots-on-the-ground view of the 2014 racial justice protests in St. Louis and beyond from the perspective of a journalist who embedded himself into the protesting community. For those who may have wondered what really happened in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death and how it ties into the larger American racial justice arc, this is the book for you. Read more about the title here.

At the Annual Meeting, we will discuss this book and put the “book into action” by donating books to a local non-profit called Caring for Kids. This organization was founded in 2003 by Susan Block, who was a St. Louis Family Court Administrative Judge at that time.  Judge Block witnessed many children in her courtroom with basic, urgent needs that went unmet by the various existing legal and child welfare organizations simply because the resources were not available or too cumbersome to obtain.  Judge Block and other child advocates were frustrated with the roadblocks and inadequacies and believed something had to be done to remedy the situation. Seeking out community leaders, she shared her vision of establishing an organization that would bring positive and immediate assistance to these children and founded Caring For Kids. Providing books for children of all ages would mean that the Director of Caring for Kids could give each child their own book along with the other needed items, such as a bed or school supplies.

You are be able to ‘shop local’ to provide books to Caring for Kids as MAALL is partnering with a local St. Louis bookstore, Left Bank Books, to provide a list of requested titles for the children. 

We look forward to discussing this title with you when we meet you in St. Louis in October!

MAALL Book to Action coordinators,

Cindy Bassett and Gail Wechsler

History: MAALL was inspired to begin the Book to Action program in 2014 by our MAALL Annual Meeting keynote speaker, Steve Bogira. When asked what law librarians can do to help those in prison situations, Mr. Bogira suggested that we work on providing reading material for the incarcerated. Cindy Bassett announced the first Book to Action project in her Letter from the President in the September 2015 MAALL Markings (pages 7-8).

  • 2015: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson; donated books to the Missouri Department of Corrections.
  • 2016: This Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson; donated books to Positive Tomorrows.
  • 2017: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond; donated books to Literacy Services of Wisconsin.
  • 2018: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander; donated books to Project Stand.

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