Students at two of Iowa’s state universities spent part of the weekend gathering and crating up thousands of donated textbooks to send overseas. Craig Buske, a junior at Iowa State University, is helping spearhead the movement for an Iowa-based non-profit group called Pages of Promise.
Buske says the textbooks go to schools and universities in sub-Saharan areas of Africa that lack education infrastructure, where some schools have no textbooks at all or perhaps one to share with an entire class. Book drives were held over the weekend at I-S-U and at the University of Northern Iowa, with plans to add the University of Iowa next year. He says the phrase “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” truly applies here.
Buske says American publishers put out new editions of textbooks every few years so the information isn’t really outdated and the books are still of great value in poor nations. The effort he and other I-S-U students started in the spring of 2003 has brought in nearly 100-thousand textbooks. This weekend, another ten-thousand books were boxed for shipment.
Buske, a Johnston native, says the books come from publishers, community colleges and book stores but the majority come from students. Buske says the deflated refund is getting worse for college students, who may buy a book for a hundred-dollars and then the book store will offer to buy it back for maybe six-dollars at semester’s end. When the return is that small, he says it’s easy to convince students to donate the books as they’ll have much more value to someone else.