Afew months ago, we reported on a woman who set up a mobile lending library to serve Portland's homeless population. Now, just in time for Banned Books Week, comes another innovative idea from a book-loving Portlander.
Justin Stanley founded the Uprise Books Project with the simple goal of getting books in the hands of underprivileged teenagers. Citing strong links between illiteracy and poverty, Stanley believes one way to end the "cycle of poverty" is by encouraging teens to read. But here's the hook—Uprise aims to provide kids with books that have been banned or challenged. Stanley hopes to tap into teenaged curiosity and rebellion by urging kids to read books that adults think they shouldn't.
Stanley just launched a Kickstarter page for Uprise, where he hopes to raise $10,000 to build a website. The site is a key component of the project: Teens will be able to browse and request books from a pre-populated selection (based on banned books lists compiled by the American Library Association and others); their selection will be sent to their homes, free of charge. The site will also allow donors to support specific requests, while still protecting the anonymity of the teenagers involved.
Stanley is still sorting out the details of how, exactly, he's going to reach the population he wants to reach—in addition to enlisting the help of librarians and social workers, he's considering printing a Scholastic-esque catalog. But if it comes together, Stanley envisions a project that combats poverty, illiteracy, and censorship, all with one simple move.