This time I’m shouting out to Donna in Mississauga, Ontario Canada. Donna is a repeat supporter of Books for Keeps and is providing an interesting kind of support right now. She’s keeping a steady stream of ideas coming my way, and it’s really helping me shift focus from sorting and counting books to thinking of ways to get more, more, MORE books.One of today’s topics was a Books for Keeps bookmark. Cheaper, easier, and more versatile than a bookplate… I love the idea; it’s on the to-do list. And get this – Donna recommended Books for Keeps to Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres. I’m afraid to dream that big right now, but wanted to share another example of one person doing a few seemingly small things that make a big difference. Hooray for having supporters like this!Thank you Donna – can’t wait to hear the rest of your ideas… I’m starting a new week feeling inspired and ready to go!
This shout out is to Alexa in Sherman Oaks, California. She saw our wish list and realized she already had some of the books we’re wanting. So she popped them in the mail and here they are in Athens… that’s simple.But Alexa did more than just send the books. She donated PaperBackSwap credits, which I’ll use to get copies of the elusive Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. AND she posted info about Books for Keeps on her Facebook page, which led to even more people hearing about our cause.Alexa mentioned it didn’t seem like a huge contribution, but I think this is the perfect example of how one person can do a few simple things and make a tremendous difference. So thank you, Alexa. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s a big deal for Books for Keeps. We need you, and more like you. Thank you for helping spread the word!
Want to know the “whole story” of Books for Keeps, without having to read the entire blog history? I’m happy to oblige!In 2009 I met a 2nd-grade girl who loved to read, but didn’t own a single book. Summer was rapidly approaching, and she was facing many weeks without access to books. I started talking to teachers and counselors at the school and was dismayed by what I learned. Athens GA, home of the University of Georgia, has the 3rd worst poverty rate in the nation for towns its size.Most likely, this little girl and the many others like her would forget how to read over the summer, and would start 3rd grade lagging behind their classmates.What about the library, I wondered? Too many parents can’t, won’t, or don’t take their kids to the library. The kids pay the price. Why doesn’t somebody DO something, I wondered? Then it struck me: I am somebody. I can do something.With two weeks left in the school year, I had to hurry. A few friends and family rallied to help, and we adopted four 2nd-grade classes at Alps Road Elementary. We gave the kids a Summer Satchel with books and art supplies on the last day of school, and sent them off with fingers crossed they’d remember how to read. And life went on. I didn’t think too much about books or kids.Until the school called in 2010. What a surprise to learn the program worked! The school decided to do their own program to distribute books to kids in 2010. They got a grant that funded [...]
Donate BooksWe accept used books in good condition for kids in grades K-12. We especially need “chapter books” for elementary school students. We have public and private drop-off locations in multiple states. Or- mail your books using the discounted USPS Media Mail rate to Books for Keeps, PO Box 49761, Athens GA 30604. (For example, it only costs about $4 to mail 30-40 Junie B Jones books.)Drop off locations.You can also buy books from our NEW Amazon wish list, and they’ll ship them straight to us.Hold a Mini-Book DriveIt’s as simple as sending an email or posting a message on Facebook to let your friends or coworkers know you’re collecting books. You’ll be surprised how many books you get! I’ll even write the message for you.Donate FundsTo make a tax deductible donation to Books for Keeps, make check payable to “Athens-Clarke County Family Connection”; mail it to Books for Keeps, PO Box 49761, Athens GA 30604. Be sure to put Books for Keeps in the memo line!!!Donate PointsWe’re on BookMooch (booksforkeeps) and PaperBackSwap (yenalem) and we ALWAYS need points. If you have some to spare, please send them our way. Don’t know how? Ask Melaney.VolunteerWe need volunteers to pick up books from various locations, to help sort and box books, and to help us pull off as many book drives as possible. We also need professionals with skills that range from marketing communications to book-keeping. If you have a skill, chances are we need it.Tell PeopleShare this article (or this article, take your pick!) about Books for Keeps on your Facebook page. Email it to people. [...]
Books for Keeps inventory grew by another boxful today. Box 1 of 2 from Jan in Davis, California arrived today and it’s full of good quality books with colorful covers that will draw the kids in. This isn’t the first time Jan has shipped books cross-country for the kids here in Athens, two boxes at a time. She’s a repeat supporter whose books are now resting comfortably in the homes of children all over Athens.Thank you Jan, for yet another shipment of books… and for helping loosen that little stress knot that’s been forming behind my neck as I worry about inventory for the coming year!
Another step forward for Books to Keeps’ inventory rebuilding… this time thanks to Sandra at the Home Education Resource Emporium in Ontario Canada. Sandra sent a box full of some of our most-wanted books, and a little bird told me she’s already started another box to send later. If you’re a home schooler, check out the Home Education Resource Emporium. Not that I’m an expert by any means, but the prices look great to me. Sandra also writes a home education blog and has mentioned Books for Keeps. Thanks Sandra, for a great load of books and for supporting Books for Keeps!
This shout out is for Ginger from Athens, who not only donated 2 bags of books this morning, but gave my confidence a boost at the same time. When I told her my goal is tentatively 2,000 books by May she said “By May? We can do that, no problem!” She’s collecting books in her neighborhood and telling people about Books for Keeps, and man-oh-man do I appreciate it. Thanks Ginger, for the books, the support, and for starting my day off just right!
I’ve been waiting for the new blog design to start a “shout out!” section, but I can’t wait any more.Nancy from Staten Island gets Books for Keeps’ very first Shout Out!I was just fretting over how to start rebuilding my inventory when I saw the mail carrier backing up the driveway. That’s my signal that something won’t fit in the box, and I was thrilled to receive two large boxes of books to kick off my inventory-rebuilding phase.Thank you Nancy – this isn’t the first time you’ve mailed boxes of books to the kids in Athens, and your support makes such a difference! (And made my day, too….)
I’ve recovered from the YWCO book distribution. My house hasn’t, but I have.My thoughts are turning to what’s next. My head is crowded with ideas but I’m still only one person, so I’m taking some time to mull things over and make sure I don’t over-commit. Here’s what’s on my mind.Book Inventory:It’s small. I’d guess I have about 200 books but will count later. I’m tentatively considering a goal of 2,000 books by May, which would let me adopt 2 schools. BookMooch hasn’t responded to my request for a charity account. I’ve got to find more book donors, but how?Sponsorships:Should I contact local businesses to see if they’ll adopt a grade? A school? A kid? There are books the kids want (Diary of a Wimpy Kid!) that I rarely see at thrift stores. I love the idea of having a business or neighborhood or church buy the books new and donate them to a specific grade or school. But how much work will that be, and can I really do it all?Volunteers:Speaking of how much work it might be… should I recruit volunteers? Managing volunteers could become a job in itself. I may just continue to rely on the kindness of strangers and focus more on efficiency.Efficiency:One of these days I’ll go back to work. I need to streamline. Should I quit thinking of ways to make the program perfect and just focus on getting as many books in kids’ homes as quickly & easily as possible? Specifically:- The alphabetized library & searchable inventory are outta here. I’m sorting books by reading level and boxing [...]
The YWCO Girls Club distribution was so cool!The girls are divided into age groups, and each group has an assigned reading period each day. I set up the books in one corner of the “reading room” and waited for the first group: 35 five-year-olds.This is the first Books for Keeps distribution where the kids have had time to browse the books…… to sit down and read a little……. to show each other their choices……. and read a little more…..Seriously, you can tell they’re interested… they WANT books!Smiles like these remind me why I’m doing this.There was a near revolt in the 7 year-old group because I didn’t have enough Junie B Jones for everyone. The girls were crushed. I heard myself promising to come back Monday with a Junie B for each girl in the group. That settled things, and they got busy choosing other books.It’s fun watching kids collaborate on their book selections. The next three groups, (8, 9, 10 year olds) ALL wanted Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I’d have been smart to leave the few copies I had at home. Another near revolt, but it’s an expensive book and there’s no way I can buy new copies for everyone.And here’s what happens when you don’t have enough Goosebumps to go around…. this was the last copy and I was “lucky” enough to catch the conflict on camera. I was strangely honored that the girls were willing to talk books with me. Some asked me for recommendations. Uh, I haven’t read all this new stuff, and they do NOT like Nancy Drew! Another item to add to the To Do list. It was fun [...]