Kay, our volunteer in South Carolina who handles all Books for Keeps “bookmooching”, has been working hard to make sure we don’t run out of points. Once again, I’m blown away by the generosity of BookMooch users all over the world, using points to make a difference right here in Athens.BookMooch is one of our best sources of books because we get to choose the books we know kids will love, and they arrive in good condition with very little sorting required. And BookMoochers hold a special place in my heart because they provided much of the momentum that got Books for Keeps started.I mentioned a few of our point donors in a post last week, but there are some new names this time: Lauren in South Carolina, Val in California, Sheena in Arkansas, Elizabeth in Canada, Andrea in Spain, and Gail in New Hampshire – thank you!And I’m thrilled when I see the names of some of our earliest supporters too: Jan in Davis, CA, Peta & Heather in the UK, Donna in Canada… what would we do without you? Thank you again and again and again.Kay will be busy mooching books with this new influx of points… can’t wait to see what we get.
The tally is up to 11,426 after Saturday’s volunteer sort day, and there are still books waiting to be counted. That’s 11,426 books that have been inspected, sorted by age, and boxed for distribution in May.Thank you Kim, Cathy, Aspen, Morgan & Leigh! Your help made a world of difference in slogging through the backlog of books waiting for inspection. And thank you Bayne, for dismantling and moving the book shelves out of harm’s way, and rigging a tarp system only an engineer could conceive.Our books are temporarily safe from future roof leaks, and I’m looking for a new space. We’re completely out of storage space and we’ve outgrown the sort room too. What a wonderful, welcome problem to have! Of course I have no ideas (or funds) for how to solve it, but I trust our needs will be met in some way I haven’t thought of yet.We don’t count the adult books as we box them, but I’d guess there are 7,000-10,000 of those too. Whitney, Leigh and Cindy are organizing a book sale, and I’m so hopeful it’ll be complete in time for me to purchase books for the May distribution. I’m especially thankful that these women are handling everything. All I have to do is show up and sell books. Thank you!In other news: we’re a registered non-profit corporation in Georgia; thank you Celia and IntelliGRACS Group for covering the cost! This means we can file for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, making us eligible for tax deductible contributions, grants, etc. It’s so close I can almost taste it, but it’s going to take a while.I [...]
I make a note in my little Books for Keeps notebook every time I seal up another box of inspected/approved books in the storage room, but it’s been a while since I sat down and added up the official inventory count. Til today.10,113 books! Inspected, sorted by reading level, and approved for distribution to kids in grades K-12.And we haven’t finished counting. The sort room is full of books just waiting for the next volunteer sort day. I know, I know, we need a lot more, but I’m taking a moment to celebrate and say THANK YOU to everyone who’s helped us reach this point. Book donors nationwide, financial supporters, volunteers of every kind – thank you. I wish there was a way to add an exponential degree to a thank you; the two little words don’t seem big enough.
The sort room roof has been patched again, but based on the age of the roof it’s bound to leak again so the tarps will remain in place until we find a new space. It’s dark, dreary and raining, but our books are safe.Thank you, Lindy at Clarke Central High School and Shawn at Clarke Middle School, for the option to store books at your schools. I wish it weren’t necessary!A couple of boxes o’ books turn a dreary day bright, every time. Today I was thrilled to receive books from Carrie in New Ulm, MN and Katherine (again!) in Kerrville, TX. Thank you!Yes, things have been a bit rough lately. But as I told my long-time friend Polly today: it’s just an awkward stage of growth that’s a blessing in disguise. We have more books, more ideas, more opportunities than we have people or money to follow up on them. I’ll take that over the opposite problem any day.I’d say Books for Keeps is like a pre-teen with braces right now: looking a little scrappy and learning from our mistakes, but on our way to a very, very bright future.
Isn’t it funny how a single day can bounce back and forth between being a great day and a really bad day?The sort room roof leaked again. Again, no damage to any books. Again, purely a miracle considering how tight the space is, and I am truly thankful. But I’m also really bummed. Books for Keeps has nowhere else to go right now, and if I stop to find another facility & raise the funds to pay for it, I’ll have to stop my current focus on getting as many books as possible for the May distribution. I just want to give books to kids… but suddenly I’m dealing with roofers, tarps, shelving units…. ugh.As a result of the two roof leaks, my husband Bayne and I have moved thousands, (and I do mean thousands), of books in a short period, and we are both sore, grouchy, and completely over it. I haven’t been successful in my attempts to recruit volunteers to help with the heavy lifting, so today I resorted to paying someone to finish what we couldn’t.So yeah, it’s been a bad day. I’m down in the dumps, sore all over, and got very little sleep.But enough complaining. I want to be truthful about what’s going on, because many of you have been following Books for Keeps’ story since the beginning. But I certainly don’t want to drag everybody else down with me!So let’s take a quick peek at the bright side:- 10,000 children’s books sorted & categorized, plus thousands more completely untouched, just waiting to be inspected…. all covered with waterproof tarps just in time for the rain that’s now pouring down. [...]
2011 started with a Books for Keeps miracle. A hole in the roof led to a few collapsed ceiling tiles in our storage room. 15,000+ books at risk… but when the ceiling tiles collapsed, they fell at an angle that dumped water into the aisles, right between the wall-to-wall shelves of books. 10 books were damaged. TEN. It makes my knees weak just thinking about it. I kept my cool, surveying the damage, inspecting books, moving boxes out of harm’s way. But when I realized only 10 books were damaged, I burst into tears. Truly these books are being watched over, protected for a mighty purpose.The roof was repaired just in time for what’s being called “Snowpocalypse” and “SnOMG” in Athens: 6-9 inches of show. Schools have been canceled 4 days in a row, the streets are still icy, and we southerners are going stir crazy. I’m so thankful the roof is repaired. I’m so thankful only 10 books were damaged. I’m so thankful I have 15,000+ books to protect! About those books: 10,000 of them are children’s books to distribute this May. Another 5,000ish are adult books that have been donated along the way… I certainly never saw that coming! And so a book sale is in our future. Leigh and Whitney, two Athens volunteers, are heading up that effort. Hopefully it will provide some much-needed cash, so we can round out our inventory just in time for May.Our first donation for 2011 came from Jan in Davis, CA, a frequent donor who sends boxes of Book Crossing books periodically. I’m so grateful to the women I consider [...]