TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – In April, the University of Alabama’s School of Library & Information Studies (SLIS) donated over $15,000 worth of children’s and young adult (YA) books to five public schools in Alabama. 

This annual book giveaway, known as the Book Bonanza for the Black Belt (and Beyond), focuses on schools in two regions: those in the state’s Black Belt and those outside of it. 

Twenty-nine schools across the state applied for the program in February, and the judges for the Book Bonanza chose the five low-income schools based on their need. 

SLIS director Jamie Naidoo, Ph.D., said, “The judging of the applications was rigorous, as every school exemplified a significant need.” SLIS graduate students judged schools’ needs and selected books for them. 

SLIS designed the book giveaway to bolster student literacy in the Black Belt. The Beyond program was built for equally deserving schools outside of the Black Belt region, which Naidoo calls “a one-time opportunity to address literacy needs.” 

The five schools receiving books this year are listed below by name, county and grades taught. Each school received over $3,000 in books for their library. 

Winners, Book Bonanza for the Black Belt: 

  • Goshen Elementary School (Pike County), grades PreK-6th 
  • Ridgecrest Elementary School (Russell County), grades K-5th 
  • Southern Choctaw High School (Choctaw County), grades 7th-12th 

Winners, Book Bonanza Beyond: 

  • Chilton County High School (Chilton County), grades 9th-12th 
  • McDonnell Elementary School (Madison County), grades PreK-5th 

Applications will open again in February 2025. For more information, see the SLIS Book Bonanza’s website

The SLIS Book Bonanza for the Black Belt (and Beyond) was founded in 2009 by Jamie Naidoo, Ph.D. It is an annual program that provides free, new books to school libraries in the Black Belt region of Alabama and the wider state. 

Jamie Naidoo, Ph.D., is the director of SLIS and a Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor in the UA College of Communication & Information Sciences (C&IS). His research interests include library services for diverse populations and diversity within children’s and young adult media.