Today I have new clarity of mind thanks to a brain pickin’ session with Martin Matheny. Martin gave me pointers on dealing with the media, which gives me nightmares, chills and a bellyache all at the same time.Not that I expect the media to be camped outside my door or anything! But when I contact the Athens Banner Herald to be included in the Blueprint section, there’s certainly a chance I’ll wind up talking to a reporter. I want to do the best I possibly can to present Books for Keeps (and I have a huge fear of looking like a moronic dufus with a giant foot stuck in my mouth) so I asked Martin for help.The double benefit to me is that, in clarifying how I would explain things to a reporter, I’m learning how to better explain things to everybody. And I’m game for anything that might lead to more, more, more books for kids. So thank you, Martin, for letting my brain soak up what’s in your brain. I feel more prepared, and less afraid.Y’all check out Martin’s blog posts for Change.org. He’s passionate about preventing cruelty to animals and his writing inspires me to work on mine. (Especially my fondness for commas, dashes, and “…..” Later though…)
Sometimes the smallest gesture can make such an impact, and usually when you least expect it.I mooched 2 books from my wishlist from Christy in Minnesota, and received this message from her: “Kids need books more than I need more points. Go mooch another book!” She returned my Bookmooch points so I could use them for other things.You’d think I’d be used to this sort of thing, but I found myself with chillbumps on my arms and a heart full of gratitude. What a great way to start the weekend… as the recipient of a random act of kindness that never fails to restore my faith in people. Five minutes ago I was tired and wishing for a nap. Now my energy is renewed and I’m ready to search for more book sources. Thank you Christy!
I’ve spent most of this week talking to as many people as I can about ways to collect more books and reach more kids. I’m planning a public book drive (I hope!), and it’s just not as simple as you’d think.- I need publicity. I have a few leads on that, but before I pursue them…- I need drop-off locations! What good is publicity for a book drive if you don’t have anywhere for people to deliver their books? But before I can secure drop-off locations…- I need a story, or a flier, or some references; anything that will help businesses take me seriously. I mean, how do they know Books for Keeps is legit? What proof do I really have? And…- I need a plan. Dates for the book drive, an explanation of how/where/when the books will be distributed to kids. Right now I’m considering prioritizing schools based on the percentage of children on the subsidized school meal plan. I can’t count on my little blog and my aw, shucks, I’m just trying to give books to kids story to convince anybody that Books for Keeps is for real and that what we’re doing makes a difference. I’ve got to be a girl with a plan.I’ve spoken to Hands On Northeast Georgia and have a pretty good understanding what it takes to be listed in their 211 service and to join their organization. I’ve obtained contacts at Whatever It Takes and the ABH Blueprint section. Again… I need a plan before I can even contact them. So I’m working on it!In addition to laying the groundwork for a public book [...]
Today I’m shouting northward to Ohio, and across the pond to London, England. Thank you, Victoria from Ohio and Peta from London, for your generous donations of Bookmooch points. I love the thought that books will be placed in homes here in Athens compliments of two women on totally different continents. I appreciate your generosity and will put your points to good use. Thank you!
This week I’m plowing through the Books for Keeps to do list. In investigating opportunities, I’ve come to the realization that I’m not equipped to handle any major (or even minor) publicity. And I’m a little overwhelmed.I was talking to someone from Hands on Northeast Georgia about how to get Books for Keeps listed in the Blueprint section of the Athens Banner Herald. Then it struck me: where will people drop off books? I can’t give everybody my phone number and tell them to call and I’ll work out a pickup. I can’t give them all my home address and expect they’ll all just zip right over here and deliver the books.I’ll need drop off locations. And if I find drop off locations, I’ll need bins. And if I get bins, I’ll need signs. Sigh. I just want to give books to kids!So Monday I met with some Athens Books for Keeps supporters and they had ideas for drop off locations. Using their employers and other connections, maybe maybe maybe I will really have a few drop off locations. Now I’m thinking of what sort of bins or boxes I could use, and what sort of sign I could put on them. They had some other great ideas for how to raise more books here in Athens. I have quite a few leads to follow up on, and there’s only 1 of me so far.Donna, a supporter in Canada, has given me so many ideas that I’m almost frightened! Can I really handle this?Yes, I admit it. I am afraid of what it would be like if Books for [...]
Thank you, Lisa in Ohio and Laura here in Georgia, for donating BookMooch points. I’m working to amass as many points as possible so I can start mooching in early 2011 for the May book distributions. Every point counts and I appreciate yours!
Finally… FINALLY (!!!) I’ve finished sorting, counting, and boxing books. I came up with a new system that will make it easier to deliver books in spring. Basically I came up with 5 categories based on reading level, and I just box the books at random according to reading level. Here’s the breakout:105 Beginner (ex: Dr. Seuss, Little Golden Books)128 chapter Books, level 1 (grades 1-2)143 chapter books, level 2 (grades 2-4)133 chapter books, level 3 (grades 3-5)40 chapter books, advanced (longer books for more advanced readers)9 Junie B Jones52 Captain Underpants68 Goosebumps2 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2 more on the way….)That’s 680 books if my math is correct. Seems like a lot, and seems like nothing – all at the same time. My guestimate for now (will have a better idea when school starts) is that it’ll take about 1,000 books per elementary school to give 3 books per child. And I’m looking into ways to give more books to children who are known to be in need. More on that later, but I made some progress today, hooray!Thanks everybody, for your support, for your books, for your ideas. Spread the word. 680 books is just the beginning.
Thank you, Cara from Canada, for donating BookMooch points today! Cara’s dad was born in Athens and now her BookMooch points are headed here. I need soooo many copies of the popular kids’ series books, and BookMooch is an easy way to get them… provided I have points. So thank you, Cara, for making it easier for me to collect the books the kids want most!
This shout out is to Margot in Sahune, France. Margot is a BookMooch member and has been supporting Books for Keeps – from France – since my very first plea for help. Margot knows I’m hoarding BookMooch points just in case BookMooch doesn’t grant my charity request. She’s mooched books (using her own points) from as far away as the Philippines and had them shipped to Georgia. Yesterday I received a huge box of RL Stine books; there must be 50 books in there. Margot mooched this stash from Josie in Louisiana. Merci beaucoup, Margot, for your ongoing support. The books are great, and saving Books for Keeps’ Bookmooch points is great too! It makes me smile to think of you over in France, thinking of us over here in Athens.
Shout out to Rhonda from Lyndhurst, Ohio for sending Captain Underpants our way! Rhonda, a repeat Books for Keeps donor, spotted Captain Underpants at a library book sale and snapped up a few copies. Now here they are, ready and waiting for a child in Athens to take them home.I am always thrilled when someone sends a surprise package! And Captain Underpants books are great for “reluctant readers” so they’re a must have for every book distribution. Thank you, Rhonda – for thinking of Books for Keeps and taking the time to shop for us.