GeoReads: Donate your Favorite Geography Book to Support Geographic Literacy

10-15-2018 01:47 PM
Occasional Contributor
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A GeoMentors Campaign for 2018 Geography Awareness Week and Beyond

Is there a book that inspires you as a geographer? A book that made you more interested and intrigued by geography? Perhaps a go-to text that you refer others to when they want to know more about being a geographer or about your area of research or teaching? If you had to give elementary, middle, or high school students a book to spark their interest in geography, (besides an atlas...) what would it be?

Adding geography to US K-12 schools isn’t just about finding ways to teach more geography directly in classrooms. It’s also about ways, big and small, to encourage students, or even just one student, to explore what geography has to offer and how it can help them understand their world. It can be about simply making more geography resources available for students to discover.

For GAW 2018, we encourage and challenge GeoMentors and geographers across the country to donate 1 geography book to a school or public library in your community.

Think outside the box, or perhaps we should say...outside the atlas. These don’t have to just be geography textbooks or even books that are overtly about the discipline of geography (geography doesn’t have to be in the title). Our discipline is diverse and many books are geographic in different ways - so be creative in thinking of books that excite you and ones that may also excite students!

Yes, I’m in! Now, how should I go about this?

  1. Learn about local library donation policies. Check the school or public library websites for donation information or contact the librarian to find out about their donation policy and process, letting them know what you would like to do. Policies (and needs) may vary from one library to the next, so find out the process beforehand.

  1. Think of a few different books you are interested in donating and determine which, if any, the library may already have. You don’t want to duplicate their offerings!

  1. Donate the text of your choosing (or the cost of the text if the library wants to handle ordering it). Consider asking the librarian if you could provide a brief write-up of why you like this book and why you encourage students or anyone in general to read it (here’s a good chance to plug geography again!). They may be able to post or display your thoughts on the book  or in the library.

  1. Finally (if you want to, no requirement...), tell us about it!  Let the GeoMentors program know what book you have donated and why. Email or tweet us @AAGGeoMentors (and use #GeoReads & #GAW2018). We’d love to hear your donations/recommendations and we’d love to share them! Not only may it inspire others to donate, your suggestions may inspire others to pick up a new geographic read as well!

New to book donations? Here are some tips from the American Library Association.

Just want to recommend a book?

Yes! As another way to participate in this campaign, you can donate your idea for a suggested good geography read! Share it with us via email ( or tweet us @AAGGeoMentors (use #GeoReads & #GAW2018). If you have room, tell us why you recommend it too! We would love to share everyone’s suggestions and compile a list!

About the Author
Senior Research Geographer with the Association of American Geographers; Map Nerd