Monthly Archives: August 2010

Progress Report

Progress! Whatever It Takes, Clarke County Schools, and Clarke County Recycling have all agreed to help with an October book drive here in Athens. If I can’t get it done with that kind of help, someone should just fire me. It’s all about the drop-off locations. I think I’ll have them settled in the next 2 weeks, but this aspect will make or break the book drive. Fingers crossed… prayers and best wishes gladly accepted! In the meantime… anybody know where I can get a smokin’ good deal on some storage bins to leave at the collection sites? In other news: My niece/indentured servant MK has gone to pick up the first wave of books from Classic City Orthodontics; can’t wait to see what their patients have donated. My sister Taylor is having a book drive at her tennis tournament this Saturday. She’s expecting more adult books than kids’ books, but I can turn those into store credit in a flash.I’m meeting with the Clarke County Family Engagement Action Team (I didn’t know we had one!) in a few weeks to tell them about Books for Keeps and get their input on how to best reach kids in need.Fellow blogger Jillian invited Books for Keeps to the Piedmont College Community Service Fair; that’s certainly a first!And… we’ll know the identity of our 2nd adopted elementary school any time now!Every 3 books we get turns 1 child into a proud book owner. Three little ol’ books, probably sitting unwanted on someone’s shelf right this minute….. Clean off your bookshelves everybody!

By |August 19th, 2010|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Progress Report|

How It All Started

I hear from more and more of you every day, so this seems like a fine time to tell new Books for Keeps followers how it all started.”I met a child who loved to read but didn’t own a book.” True story.Check out this series of 4 posts (start at the bottom!) and you’ll know everything you need to know about why Books for Keeps exists. You’ll also notice that from the very beginning this little project was carried forward by generous people who jumped in and helped out.When I thanked them, many said “oh, it was nothing”. But altogether, it sure was something.

By |August 19th, 2010|Uncategorized|Comments Off on How It All Started|

Inventory Update: 1,987 Books

I did some boxing this afternoon. Around here, that means a holding bin for a certain category of books has gotten too full and needs to be boxed and put in storage.Here’s the breakout:361 Beginner (ex: Dr. Seuss, Little Golden Books)206 Chapter Books, level 1 (grades 1-2)272 Chapter books, level 2 (grades 2-4)167 Chapter books, level 3 (grades 3-5)163 Chapter books, advanced (middle/high school) 50 Junie B Jones 60 Captain Underpants189 Goosebumps 14 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (hey, it’s progress!)505 Loose (all levels, counted but not boxed)That’s 1,987 books, and more trickle in every day. Things get tricky when I try to manage inventory by category. Once I know exactly how many students we’ll have, I have to make sure we have the right number of books for each grade, not just in total. Thankfully, that task is months away!Thank you everybody… couldn’t do it without you!

By |August 18th, 2010|Inventory Updates|Comments Off on Inventory Update: 1,987 Books|

"…and now we find the kids in need…"

This line in the story of Books for Keeps is overlooked most of the time. It’s easy to focus on collecting books and distributing books. But for me personally, finding the kids in need is one of the most important aspects of Books for Keeps. I keep books in my car just in case!Right now I’m reaching kids through the school system. But I’m thinking constantly of ways to reach a subset of kids where the need is greatest. Kids I want to give more books. Our best books. Anything to keep them reading and learning. Where is one most likely to find a child living in a home without a single book? I can’t exactly go knocking door to door. Are there organizations out there already helping the same kids Books for Keeps is trying to reach? Do you have any ideas?

By |August 18th, 2010|Uncategorized|Comments Off on "…and now we find the kids in need…"|

Excited… or terrified?

So much has been happening with Books for Keeps that my head is spinning. There are still hurdles to overcome, but there’s a real chance that Books for Keeps could have an “official” book drive here in Athens. The folks from Whatever It Takes are helping me line up drop off locations. If we’re successful, I’ll be facing two more hurdles: how to publicize, and how to actually collect all the books as they come in. I’ve managed massive projects before, some that make this look like a cakewalk. But never without a staff of paid professionals who value their job security! This will be a true challenge for me. I can’t decide if I’m excited or terrified.

Big News: We’re Going to High School!

I agonized over how to write this post because I want to convey how excited I am, how full of hope, how humbled, how… overwhelmed. I don’t think I can do it. So I’m just going to spit it out in plain old, unemotional words.Yesterday I met with a group of folks from Whatever It Takes, a new organization here in Athens. I’m definitely going to fill you in on what they’re doing, but right now let’s focus on what it means for Books for Keeps.I’ve been working, working, working to have a large-scale book drive in Athens sometime this fall. But I’ve had so much trouble finding drop off locations for the books. I have no reputation preceding me, no clout. I have no talent or method for creating signs for my bins. I have no media contacts to spread the word. I have very few helpers to sort books, retrieve them from drop-off locations, deliver them to schools. In other words: Books for Keeps has books, but no resources. Whatever It Takes has resources galore: business partners, volunteers, media contacts, creative and technical supporters. BUT: It turns out part of their mission is to make books available to Athens kids…. and they have no books. Could this be a match made in heaven? I hope so. What I do know is they’ve offered to help with a book drive. A BIG book drive.They’ve agreed to my only “term and condition”: the kids get to own the books. I’ve agreed to their only “term and condition”: Books for Keeps will expand beyond elementary school.So it’s official [...]

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10 hours of sleep and a WONDERFUL morning!

I was dead on my feet all day yesterday. Two hours of sleep (thanks to a claw in the eye, courtesy of my kitty Scamp), then meetings and appointments spaced every 2 hours until almost 8pm. You’d think I would’ve gone to bed right away, but I was still on a high from seeing the boxes of books that arrived in the mail, so I wound down by sorting books.(Now that I think about it, when I couldn’t sleep at 1am, I got up and sorted books.) And here I am, finally awake today, and I’m in the best mood because of emails I received from new potential donors.Where am I going with all this? It just struck me that I could make money on the side by marketing Books for Keeps as an activity for insomniacs, a non-chemical energy booster, AND a cure for depression.But I’m getting off track. When I arrived home late yesterday, there were boxes of books stacked at the door. Some were deliveries I’d mooched from BookMooch, but 2 big boxes were from two of our Canadian donors.Michelle and Sandra, both from Ontario Canada, are two of our donors who go out of their way to find books on our wishlist then send them free of charge. It’s expensive to mail books from Canada, folks! This is no small thing.Michelle goes out of her way to send me ideas for new books the kids might like. She sends me links to new inventories on BookMooch. She hands out books to trick or treaters at Halloween! In Michelle’s own words “Searching out your preferred titles has turned into a [...]

By |August 12th, 2010|Shout Out|Comments Off on 10 hours of sleep and a WONDERFUL morning!|

Books Galore!

Less than a week ago I bragged that I’d finally gotten my books so organized and put away that you wouldn’t see a single child-oriented book anywhere in the house. Happily, I am eating my words. Books everywhere! I can hardly walk in certain rooms, and forget about eating at the dining room table. I’ve already mentioned most of the people who donated books in the last few days, but I had another surprise when the mail came yesterday afternoon.Sandy in Ventura CA and Liz from Shady Side MD win the prize for “most pristine” books. I’m telling you, they look brand new. Sandy and Liz both mailed big boxes of the most wonderful books covering every grade in elementary school. The kids will fight over these for sure. It’s been a great few days for Books for Keeps. Inventory in-hand of almost 1,700 books, and another 200-300 books in various stages of transit. Yeah, I could get used to this. AND – I have even more to tell you about my meeting with the folks from Whatever it Takes. But I’m running on 2 hours of sleep and want to pinch myself first, to make sure it’s not a dream.

By |August 11th, 2010|Inventory Updates, Shout Out|Comments Off on Books Galore!|

It’s not even lunchtime….

…. and I already have people to thank today!Last night three BookMooch “angels” offered to order books for Books for Keeps so that my account doesn’t hit the moochable limit. For you non-moochers, this may not sound like a big deal. But it involves a tedious amount of record-keeping, and lots and lots of click, click, clicking to request books one at a time. So thank you Katherine in Illinois, Kerry in California, and Meg in California… my newest angels, your help is sooo appreciated and you make it possible for me to use the points that other folks donate for the cause. And a shout out to Ginger, here in Athens, a repeat Books for Keeps supporter. 4 bags bursting with books… can’t wait to go through them. Also, I met with Anisa from Clarke County schools. She agreed to help me come up with a method for choosing the next school we adopt, for spreading the word about the book drive, and she has some ideas for book-drop locations too. I appreciate your time Anisa, especially considering that your office is swarmed with people registering their children for school today. What a way to start a Tuesday! Off to count the latest influx of books…..

By |August 10th, 2010|Shout Out|Comments Off on It’s not even lunchtime….|