MAALL Book to Action - Update 2023!

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.

From your 2023 Book to Action coordinators, Matt Timko and Gail Wechsler:

In your line up of summer reading, please add Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of our Nation by Linda Villarosa.

From an award-winning writer at the New York Times Magazine and a contributor to the 1619 Project comes a landmark book that tells the full story of racial health disparities in America, revealing the toll racism takes on individuals and the health of our nation.

In Under the Skin, Linda Villarosa lays bare the forces in the American health-care system and in American society that cause Black people to “live sicker and die quicker” compared to their white counterparts. Today's medical texts and instruments still carry fallacious slavery-era assumptions that Black bodies are fundamentally different from white bodies. Study after study of medical settings show worse treatment and outcomes for Black patients.

From Chapter 1: “In my years of reporting on public health and race—including interviewing women and men of all classes whose health has been harmed by the medical system and being embedded for months in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country-not to mention being a slave-descended African American myself, I have seen a race of people who have been mistreated and misunderstood, ignored and blamed, let down and left to fend for ourselves.”

Timely and thought-provoking, Under the Skin is sure to lead to lively discussion and debate. We look forward to discussing this book with you at the 2023 MAALL Conference.

Information about our connected charity effort and book store for ordering donated books will be coming soon. 

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).

Smiling people holding donated children's books in the United Way Community Connection Center

Left to right: Sarah Kammer (MAALL); Kelsey Collier-White, Director,
United Way of Vermillion; Mike Phelan, Owner of Outside of a Dog
Books & Games; Courtney Segota (MAALL).

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