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.

2020 Book to Action Program

In your line-up of summer reading, please add the MAALL Book to Action title, Whatever It Takes:  Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America by Paul Tough. 

What would it take? That was the question that Geoffrey Canada found himself asking. What would it take to change the lives of poor children—not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in big numbers, and in a way that could be replicated nationwide? The question led him to create the Harlem Children’s Zone, a ninety-seven-block laboratory in central Harlem where he is testing new and sometimes controversial ideas about poverty in America. His conclusion: if you want poor kids to be able to compete with their middle-class peers, you need to change everything in their lives-their schools, their neighborhoods, even the child-rearing practices of their parents.

Whatever It Takes is a tour de force of reporting, an inspired portrait not only of Canada but also of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds.

At the virtual 2020 Annual Meeting, we will discuss this book and put the book “into action” by making monetary donations to a local, Indianapolis non-profit called Project Home Indy. Located in Indianapolis, Project Home Indy serves teen mothers and their children on the path to self-sufficiency. The program aims to break the cycle of poverty by providing support to young mothers and helping them develop the skills they need to live independently. Its mission is to provide holistic, trauma-informed services to teen mothers to create successful futures for themselves and their children.

Make your donations here.

We look forward to discussing Whatever It Takes with you at the 2020 virtual MAALL Conference!

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).


Jan Abrams, Director of Caring for Kids with some of the delivered books from the 2019 Book to Action book drive.

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