Two campus organizations are striving to find a good home for unused books and textbooks from the Kennel Bookstore.

Antiquated textbooks sent overseas

Illustration by Michael Uribes / The Collegian

Two campus organizations are striving to find a good home for unused books and textbooks from the Kennel Bookstore.

Ron Durham, director of the Kennel Bookstore, said books that no longer have any value to the school are donated to one of two campus organizations. William Rice of the marketing and logistics department heads one of them. Rice took it upon himself to collect unused books from the Fresno State campus and ship them internationally.

“Just a few months ago we shipped about 7,000 books to Armenia,” Rice said.

In all, Rice said he has been able to distribute about 60,000 books to Armenia.

Armenia is the main recipient of Rice’s donations, but the country is not the only one. Rice said he tries to focus on countries that may not have these resources otherwise.

“It isn’t just Armenia though,” Rice said. “I’ve also shipped thousands of other books to places like Ethiopia and Kenya.”

Rice, who has been involved in this process for 15 years, is not only in charge of collecting the books that might be of good use to other cultures, but is also in charge of finding a way to get them to these countries. In doing this, he finds different airlines that are willing to transport the textbooks into their home countries to be used in schools and libraries.

“I try to go through them and find books that might have value to specific cultures and ship them out to those specific countries,” Rice said.

After Rice has sorted through the thousands of books that no longer have any value to the school, there is still a large amount that needs to find a home. Books that Rice does not collect are given to the Golden Key International Honour Society.

From there the books are shipped to Better World Books, a for-profit social enterprise that collects used books and sells them online to raise money for literacy initiatives worldwide.

Eric York, local president of the Golden Key Honour Society, said his organization did its research and determined that Better World Books would be the necessary recipient of the donated books.

“They just do such great work with places all over the world,” York said. “It was an easy decision as far as I’m concerned. They do an amazing job at getting resources to places that really need them.”

One of those places is Haiti. In an attempt to overcome its educational challenges in the aftermath of January’s earthquake, Better World Books announced on March 2 that they will begin the “Rebuild Haiti” initiative. This will combine immediate aid with long-term efforts to fund the restoration and equipment of schools, teacher training and improvement of the quality of education and literacy in Haiti. Better World Books has already made an initial donation of $10,000 to help rebuild Haiti.

“As soon as we heard about the earthquake’s destruction in Haiti, we knew we could leverage our powerful fundraising machine to help,” said Better World Books CEO David Murphy. “After Hurricane Katrina, people donated an enormous number of books which raised over $100,000 for the New Orleans Public Library. We know people want to respond the same way to the Haiti crisis. We intend to see this initiative through, as long as it takes.”

Fresno State is one of about 1,800 college campuses that Better World Books has accepted book donations from. In total, they have collected more than 25 million donated books and raised $7.3 million in funding for literacy and education.

“It’s just good to see that these unused books are going towards a good cause and not being wasted just because we can no longer use them,” Durham said.

• A front-page article that ran on Wednesday March 24, 2010, in The 
Collegian titled “Antiquated textbooks sent overseas” referred incorrectly to one of two programs that donates unused books and textbooks. The Collegian retracts the original article following notification that reporter Aaron Warn fabricated information that may have misled readers. As of the date of publication, Eric York was not the local president of the Golden Key International Honour Society. The current president of Golden Key International Honour Society is Gagandeep Aulakh. And while York may have previously worked for the organization, he did not agree to a formal interview. The article also incorrectly stated how the organization receives books. Golden Key International Honour Society receives books directly from the Kennel Bookstore as well.

We regret the errors and any inconvenience that may have occurred as a result.