Nature shelves in book stores all over the U.S., once the domain of field guides and texts on more glamorous species, are now making way for a book about bats. In just the first three months of publication over one third of the first press run of Merlin Tuttle's new book, America's Neighborhood Bats sold out, surprising even the publishers. The extent of public acceptance for the book is a testament to BCI's positive impact on the perceptions people have about bats.
In this layman's guide to the bats of America, Tuttle emphasizes the values and conservation needs of bats and answers the most frequently asked questions. It has long been recognized that conservation initiatives begin with education. In few other organizations is that need so great. Only through education can centuries old fears and misconceptions be reversed, a requisite for achieving long lasting conservation success. America's Neighborhood Bats will also play an important role in continuing that effort.
Despite its acceptance in bookstores, it has been slow to appear in libraries and schools. According to David Cohen of the University of Texas Press, "...public and school libraries are working under very tight budget constraints. They tend to buy what their subscribers request the most. There is usually not a strong enough demand to support books of this type."
BCI members can do a lot to ensure that America's Neighborhood Bats is made available to those who most need it, and we encourage you to express your interest to your local school or library. If you donate a copy, the benefits from your generosity will spread far into the future. As a member of BCI, one of the most lasting gifts you can make may be in helping us spread the word.