High School Book Drive

My husband teaches high school math in the Western/Northwestern suburbs of Chicago; last week he came home telling me that his students were begging him to ask if I had some books I was finished with that he could bring in to them. Kids excited about reading get me really excited, so I went through my shelves purging things I was finished with and didn’t want to keep, as well as books I knew I was never going to get to. I even pulled out a few books I would have probably kept otherwise, because I knew they would appeal to his students.

The kids got their books on Tuesday and they were Over. The. Moon. about them. In fact, they wanted to know when I would have more for them. I had to tell them that sadly I probably couldn’t put together another bag like that until the end of the year, and even it would be a stretch.

Their excitement got me thinking, though. My husband’s school and district are going through really hard times budget-wise (what schools aren’t, really?). Many of the kids are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and 65% of the students are low-income, as opposed to the 39% state average. The school library has no funding, and many of the kids don’t have a ton of books in their houses, but they still love books.

So, I thought I’d see if my bookish friends have any books they would like to donate.

Books will go to interested students, the school library, and perhaps also some classroom libraries (depending partly on the quantity we get). The kids are interested in things that are YA, or adult books with YA crossover appeal. Historical fiction seems to be a big hit with the students, and I know that at least one US History teacher is interested history and historical fiction for his classroom library.

Since my passion is early literacy, I’ll donate $10 for every 50 books we receive (up to $200) to First Book, which will buy an ADDITIONAL 5 new books for younger children, thus increasing your donations by 10%.

We need the books by mid-May at the latest, so if you are sending media mail (which I would encourage you to do if sending within the US, it is a much cheaper option), please mail the books by the end of April. I will provide periodic thank yous/updates on the books received.

Books can be sent to:

High School Book Drive
C/o Jen Karsbaek
738 E Dundee Rd #194
Palatine, IL 60067

If you are planning to send books, please take a moment to fill out the form, so we know how many to expect, and so we have your information to properly thank you.


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7 comments to High School Book Drive

  • Could I send you some money (check or gift card) to help?

    • Let me look into that, I’ll have my husband talk to the librarian. I would only want to take people’s money if it is a check made out to the school that can be used specifically for the school’s library.

  • This is such a great idea. I purge my own shelves for student’s at my school and they love it! Good luck. May the book fairy of kindness rain down on you and your husband!

  • This is a wonderful idea Jen. I will look around to see what I have. I just did a big purge and not all of my books are with me at the moment, but I would love to send at least a few.

  • Good luck with this! I would go through my books if I weren’t in Macedonia…I’ve been doing a book project here since August, so I know (a) how tough it can be to get donations and (b) how excited the kids get when they receive books. It makes me so happy every time I see one of my students pull one of the new English books out of their bag to show their friends during class – there aren’t a lot of better feelings than seeing kids excited to read. Good luck!!

  • Diep

    Hello Mrs. Karsbaek and friends,

    I’m one of those really excited students to receive new books. I wanted to thank those in advance for any donations. It brings great joy to hungry readers like me. I’m guilty of being one of the students bothering Mr. Karsbaek about bringing in books and I’m glad I did! Again, I want to thank everyone involved to make our school better in tough times like these.