WASHINGTON– Howard University students, in response to a news report of a Washington, D.C. high school that doesn’t have enough books in its library, have launched a campaign to collect and donate more than 1,000 books to Washington Metropolitan High School as part of their annual Alternative Spring Break program.

The students are asking faculty, staff and students at Howard University, as well as bookstores, publishing companies and individuals throughout the Washington, D.C. area, for high school appropriate fiction, non-fiction and reference books.

The books will be presented to Washington Metropolitan High School, which is in its first year and is now setting up its library with Howard students’ help. During the week of March 14, Howard students helped label and categorize the books and stock the library’s shelves. Their work will be presented March 21, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s library.

Tanishia Williams-Minor, principal of the school, praised the students for their efforts.

“This book drive initiative is truly amazing,” Williams-Minor said. “The teachers and staff here at Washington Metropolitan work hard everyday to encourage the students to pursue an education after high school.

“As adults it is hard to effectively convey that message. This book drive is the first step to showing the students that the community wants to invest in their future as well.”

Antonita Pratcher, a junior health education major at Howard, is the site coordinator for the students’ effort in the Washington area during the Alternative Spring Break program and is leading the book drive.

Pratcher is asking every faculty and staff member at Howard University and Howard University Hospital to donate at least two books.

“We are really looking to the Howard University family to lead this campaign,” Pratcher said. “We ultimately hope to not only stock the school’s library, but to also give the students enough books to start their own personal collection.

“Through this book drive, we hope to help instill an appreciation for reading and learning in the students.”

Donation centers are available at Howard at Howard University Bookstore at 2225 Georgia Ave., NW; Founders Library; Cramton Auditorium and at Howard University Hospital, 2041 Georgia Ave., NW.

In addition to the on-campus sites, there will also be donation centers set up in the Howard University School of Divinity and School of Law and at Washington Metropolitan High School.

The public can drop off books at the HUB, and for large donations, students will pick up 50 books or more. For pickups or for more information, contact Pratcher at aspratcher@howard.edu or 623.341.9280.