Books in bags following last year's Book for the Black Belt campaign

UA’s Annual Book Drive Promotes Literacy in Alabama’s Black Belt

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development is set to kick off the 18th annual Books for the Black Belt campaign Feb. 5 inviting UA students, faculty, staff and local residents to donate K-12 books for students in Alabama’s Black Belt region.  

UACED aims to promote literacy and a love of learning among students in Alabama’s 13 Black Belt counties. The campaign seeks to deliver donated books to schools in Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Wilcox counties in late spring.

UACED will accept new or gently used classic and award-winning books commonly found on school reading lists until March 1. Donation boxes are available on campus in various locations and throughout Tuscaloosa. Drop-off locations and recommended book lists can be found on the UACED website.

Alabama’s Black Belt faces economic challenges, high rates of poverty and unemployment, and declining populations. Limited access to educational resources is a critical concern for K-12 students in this region. UACED’s primary goal is to make books accessible to every child in the Black Belt.

The 2023 campaign collected more than 11,500 books that were distributed to 68 schools and received $360 in donations. The Books for the Black Belt campaign started in 2006 as an extension of former Governor Bob Riley’s Black Belt Action Commission, an Education Subcommittee. UACED has led the project since its inception.

For more information about the book campaign, please contact Erin Hackenmueller at 205-348-7058 or


Erin Hackenmueller, UA Center for Economic Development,, 205-348-7058