West Virginia Book Festival

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, shows off two of the books that students at Charleston's West Side Elementary School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School will receive, as part of a joint venture between the AFT and First Book. Photo by Chris Dorst.

Hundreds of Charleston students will get a couple of free books, thanks to a partnership between the American Federation of Teachers union and the nonprofit group First Book. As the Gazette’s Davin White reports:

At a news conference on Monday morning, AFT President Randi Weingarten said the West Virginia Federation of Teachers and its partner organization, the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, were among five organizations nationwide to receive this year’s AFT Innovation Fund grant.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure there’s books in the library for kids to have, but also books at home for kids to have,” Weingarten said.

Debbie Cannada, the librarian at West Side Elementary, will also receive a $1,000 budget to order books for her students.

The Daily Mail has coverage of Monday’s event as well.

As First Book notes on its website, the majority of low-income families don’t own one book for their children. (Yet another reason why school and public libraries are so critical.) First Book provides 18,000 free or reduced-price books a day to those kids.