Book Deserts Leave Low-Income Neighborhoods Thirsty for Reading Material

We’re extremely thankful to all of the media outlets who’ve covered our story the thirty days. On December 29, 2017, NBC BLK published their story about MahoganyBooks, book deserts, and how the presence of bookstores are critical to developing the love for words and reading at a young age. Thanks to Sherri WIlliamsfor coming out to interview us and help us share our story and vision.

From left, Derrick Young, Mahogany Young, and Ramunda Young.
Photo Credit: Kea Taylor | Imagine Photography

Derrick and Ramunda Young love books as much as they love their people. When they decided to expand their 10-year-old online black-owned bookstore, MahoganyBooks, and open a brick-and-mortar store, they chose Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood, which was without a bookstore for several years.

When Derrick was a child, he spent a lot of time with his grandmother in the neighborhood, which has a wealthy black history. He wanted to invest in the neighborhood that nurtured him in his youth and reverse its designation as a book desert and make books available for children and adults there who love them.

“A book desert isn’t a community-created situation,” said Derrick, 40, who opened the store in the Anacostia Arts Center. “It’s because other people have decided not to invest into these communities. It’s not because these communities aren’t readers…Who better to invest in our people than us?”

Anacostia is one of the nation’s top book deserts that researchers studied last year. Researchers found that there are so few books available for sale for youth in Anacostia that 830 children would have to share one book. In a 2016 study, researchers found that book deserts exist when there is a rise in income segregation. This negatively impacts a family’s capability to provide reading material for their children and that ultimately affects a child’s chances to succeed academically.

Continue reading the remainder of the article over on NBC BLK

About MahoganyBooks 236 Articles
MahoganyBooks is an online bookstore that believes in social entrepreneurship. We take a leadership role in the African American community promoting reading, writing, and cultural awareness as tools to improve communities as well as enrich the lives of motivated individuals.

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