English Department holds book giveaway

Sept. 6, 2004, midnight | By June Hu | 16 years, 4 months ago

Used paperbacks available in Room 174

The English Department announced a program to dispense used paperback books in Room 174 during both lunches to Blair students and teachers.

According to Vickie Adamson, English Department Chair and sponsor of the book giveaway, there are no limitations for the distribution. "We are giving out books to anyone who wants them on a first-come-first-serve basis," she said.

The books are old English course-selection materials that are too tattered to survive "another go-around," explained Adamson. "They are going to die in someone's backpack soon," Adamson said. "And since we have newer copies of this book, we are offering students a choice to take [the old copies] home for free."

The average paperback that the English Department purchases cost under $10, according to Adamson, while the hardcover, Perma-bounds can cost over $20, depending on the author, edition and accessibility of the book. "We could buy many more paperbacks for the same money we spend on a set of hardcovers. [However,] paperbacks have a short life and we can get more years out of the Perma-bounds," Adamson reasoned. "That's why we are trying to replace all the paperbacks we have with new Perma-bounds eventually."

"You can just [drop by] and ask for the book you are reading in class. If we have it, it's yours to keep. Then, when your teacher assigns that book in class, you can raise your hand and say, 'I don't need a copy, I already have my own,'" Adamson said.

Adamson believes that some students will prefer owning an older book to borrowing a new copy from their English teacher for financial reasons. "If you lose a 'school book,' you have an obligation on your hands. If you lose a book we give you, you just borrow another from your teacher; no obligations," Adamson said.

She hopes every student will seize this opportunity to acquire "something exciting," especially those in the ESOL program. "They can check out what the other kids are reading. They can build their own libraries at home and really improve their English."

The giveaway will also "address instructional issues," Adamson predicted. "Students can interact with the text more deeply if teachers allowed them to write in the margins, which usually wouldn't be possible with the books we pass out in class."

"And sometimes teachers underestimate how long students need to read, but other teachers need to use the books, so we won't finish the book. But students say, 'We want to finish it!' and now they can get it and finish reading at home," Adamson continued.

Edamarie Mattei, an English teacher at Blair, was the first teacher to take advantage of the giveaway. She obtained 28 copies of Their Eyes Were Watching God for her only 12th grade class. She said that she is thrilled that her students will be able to reread and "write [notes] all over" her favorite book.

This is the first year of the book giveaway at Blair, according to Adamson. Adamson stated that she has wanted to start a program like this for years now, but finalized her plans this summer.

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