Meet our Board President, Sheneka Williams!

Written by special guest blogger, Sheneka Williams

When I first joined the board for Books for Keeps, I knew very little about the organization. I joined, however, because I thought it was a worthy cause. As an educator, I understand very well the importance of reading: For example, literacy, reading comprehension, vocabulary…all improve when a child reads.

I enjoy the passion that board members bring when sharing the gift of books with the community. This is especially evident at book distributions and during the book sale. I am constantly in awe of the joy that board members feel when giving, but I am also excited to witness the appreciation of children and families when receiving books from us or donating books to us. Books for Keeps is a win-win for everybody!

Books for Keeps has grown exponentially since I first joined the board. We are now almost in all Clarke County Schools, and we serve two schools in Elbert County and two schools in Atlanta Public Schools.  We expect to serve more schools throughout the state, but we must raise major funds in order to do so.

I’m in my second term as a board member, and I also serve as board president. I work best on the research committee and acting as a liaison with the UGA College of Education and with the Clarke County School District. That’s my wheelhouse, and I love doing what I can to connect the dots among the three entities.

By |August 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet our Board President, Sheneka Williams!|

Book Sale shifts are now live!

It’s time to sign up to help with the 2018 Books for Keeps Annual Book Sale! Our book sale is the largest fundraiser that we execute as an organization, and the event helps us purchase brand new books to give away in schools.  Every year, more than 40,000 books are donated to Books for Keeps, and most of those are destined for our book sale. Every year, the book sale has around 800 Friday, August 17, 2018 atrons and raises over $20,000! If you’re interested in being a part of this incredible event, keep reading!

When volunteering with our book sale, we will have you greeting shoppers, organizing books, helping patrons with their shopping, and checking out shoppers! We will have both seated and standing tasks, but be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Please arrive a few minutes early for your shift, as there will be only a little overlap in volunteer sessions. See all available shifts listed below, and click the blue link to sign up!
Thursday, August 16, 2018 PREVIEW NIGHT 

evening shift only, 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Friday, August 17, 2018 

morning shift, 9:40am – 1:00pm
afternoon shift, 12:45pm — 4:15pm
evening shift, 4:00pm — 7:00pm

Saturday, August 18, 2018

morning shift, 9:40am – 1:00pm
afternoon shift, 12:45pm – 3:45pm
evening shift, 3:30pm — 6:30pm

Sunday, August 19, 2018

afternoon shift only, 11:40am – 4:30pm

Saturday, August 25, 2018

morning shift, 9:30am – 12:45pm [FULL] 
afternoon shift, 12:30pm – 3:30pm
evening shift, 3:15pm – 6:30pm

Sunday, August 26, 2018

afternoon shift, 11:40am – 4:00pm 
evening shift, 3:30pm – 6:30pm

By |July 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Book Sale shifts are now live!|

The Results Are In!

This spring, Media Specialist extraordinaire- and Books for Keeps enthusiast- Melissa Solomon conducted a quick survey with her 3rd through 5th grade students at Fowler Drive Elementary. Melissa wanted to know about the students’ reading habits and where they got the bulk of the books they read throughout the year.

Books for Keeps has been serving Fowler Drive Elementary School since becoming an official 501c3 in 2011, and to say that Fowler is special to us is putting it lightly. Each year, our experience at Fowler is one of joy and excitement, as students who have been in the program since kindergarten come to the media center to pick out their 12 books.

So imagine our joy when we saw the results of Melissa’s poll!!












It is incredible to us to see these numbers. This shows that for summer reading needs, most students say the majority of their books come from Books for Keeps. And that is exactly why we do what we do! We know that when school is out for summer, access to reading materials is one of the largest needs of students in the communities we serve.  We’re proud to see that students are taking the books they receive from Books for Keeps and reading them all summer.

To learn more about how you can help make our program a success year after year, click here.

By |July 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Results Are In!|

2018 Distributions Sign-ups are now LIVE!

It’s time to sign up for 2018 Books for Keeps distributions! Are you ready to be a part of our largest and most widespread book giveaways ever?! With the help of more volunteers than we’ve ever before had in a distribution season, we’ll be giving away 95,000 books to children at a record 18 schools in Athens, Atlanta, Warrenton, and Elberton. This is your chance to experience the joy of helping students in your community pick out 12 free books for summer – for keeps! 
School-specific volunteer shifts are listed below. Simply click the link for each school to be taken to the GivePulse signup page for that school.  Each shift will be listed individually under the respective school, and you can sign up for multiple shifts at one time.  Once you have registered for your shift,  you will receive an email confirmation.

If you are part of a group (8 to 15 people) that would like to adopt and work an entire shift at a particular school, you can also add group members by selecting the “register a group” option and adding the names and email address for each member of your group. Each individual will receive a link to complete registration, and they must follow that link to secure their spot. If you have questions or run into issue while signing up, please email Louis Crow at

April 17-18, 2018: Dunbar Elementary School- Atlanta, GA
– April 17th morning shift, 8:45am – 10:40am[FULL] ;  afternoon shift, 11:15am – 1:30pm [FULL]
– April 18th morning shift, 9:00am – 11:55am; afternoon shift, 12:25pm – 2:45pm
April 23-24, 2018: Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School- Athens, GA
– April 23rd morning shift, 7:45am – 11:25am; afternoon shift, 11:25am – 2:45pm [FULL]
– April [...]

By |April 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 2018 Distributions Sign-ups are now LIVE!|

Books for Keeps is highlighted in a unique convention!

Books for Keeps was recently highlighted in a unique type of convention- and exhibit for exhibitors!

As part of this spotlight on literacy and Books for Keeps, the Atlanta-based exhibit design company Exhibitus is sponsoring Books for Keeps at the grade level, $2,500 – in part through donations collected from attendees at a recent Las Vegas convention. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, visit our sponsorships page.

Read the full press release here:

Exhibitus Presents a ‘Re-Imagined Fairy Tale’ at EXHIBITORLIVE

Through the Power of Storytelling, Attendees Will Experience How Combining Design, Engagement and Measurement Creates Exhibit Success

ATLANTA (PRWEB) February 15, 2018 — At EXHIBITORLIVE 2018, Exhibitus will invoke the power of storytelling to introduce a design journey through an Enchanted Forest that encompasses all aspects of an exhibit program. By ‘re-imagining’ a well-known fairy tale, the company will demonstrate how, with focus and guidance, the end of the story can be even more successful than originally anticipated.

“Our customers deserve an amazing exhibit experience at every event,” said Brad Falberg, President of Exhibitus. “It’s our job to continuously guide them through the design process so that they have the branded environment, the interactive engagement and the measurement capability needed to keep their program on the path to happily ever after. We are looking forward to sharing details of these ‘chapters’ of the story with ExhibitorLIVE attendees.”

EXHIBITORLIVE, an industry-leading conference and expo for trade show and event marketing professionals, will be held February 25 – March 1, 2018 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

In addition to the comprehensive design journey, Exhibitus is proud to feature the exhibit design work of Phoebe Mathius, a graduate of the Technology, Art and Design program at Bemidji State [...]

By |March 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Books for Keeps is highlighted in a unique convention!|

The Cedar Shoals Freshman Transition Camp needs books!!

And not just any books. Our friend Katie Johnson, a teacher with the Cedar Shoals Freshman Transition Camp, has worked hard to put together this incredible list for her students!

If you have any gently used copies of these books to donate, you can drop them off a Cedar Shoals High School or mail them, ATTN: Katie Johnson. The address is: 1300 Cedar Shoals Dr, Athens, GA 30605. The Books for Keeps team is donating the books pictured here, and are excited to see every book on this list in the hands of Athens students!

Here is the list of what is needed (it doesn’t have to be a certain edition):

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Dime by E. R. Frank
Never Fall Down: A Novel by Patricia McCormick
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Well’s End by Seth Fishman
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
November Blues (The Jericho Trilogy) by Sharon M. Draper
Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Playground by 50 Cent
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Winger by Andrew Smith

From Katie:

In summer 2016, Cedar Shoals hosted this summer program to help students transition into high school. Part of this program was handing out lexile-level-appropriate books to students entering 9th grade at feeder middle schools, Hilsman and Coile. Before camp began, [...]

By |March 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Cedar Shoals Freshman Transition Camp needs books!!|

CLOSED: BFK is seeking a new program manager

It is with much sadness that we share the news that Program Manager Louis Crow is stepping down from his role at Books for Keeps after this spring. While we – staff, board, and volunteers – are sad to see him go, we are excited for his next opportunity.

Books for Keeps is working now to identify a new program manager who can oversee core functions of the Stop Summer Slide! book give-away program: overseeing inventory management of more than 100,000 books in the Books for Keeps warehouse, working with the Books for Keeps team to identify sources for new and used books, managing volunteer sessions, and coordinating schedules and other details with partner schools.

A complete job description can be found here.

Applications will be reviewed immediately, and will not be accepted any later than March 26th at 5 p.m. Interviews will be conducted between March 28th and April 11th.

The organization is seeking someone who can make a soft start with the organization during spring book distributions. The candidate will train, for pay, with staff and volunteers during at least three sessions (typically between two and four hours each) between April 23rd and May 17th, and to officially begin work full-time in June. Applicants should send cover letter, resume, and three references by email (please note “Program Manager position” in the subject line) to

By |March 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on CLOSED: BFK is seeking a new program manager|

It MUST be event season in Athens!

It must be event season here in Athens, because we have SO many great events coming up soon!  Spring is always a busy season for the Books for Keeps team, and 2018 is no exception. We always get so excited when a special event rolls around, but in the wake of the HUGE success of our Bunco for Books event, we can hardly contain our excitement!! Check out some of the incredible events we’re looking forward to:

February 15, 5-7pm – We’re honored to be hosting the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event at our warehouse. We hope to see all current chamber members at the event!
February 20, 5-7pm – Chick-fil-A on Atlanta Highway will be hosting another family-centric, “Breakfast for Dinner” percentage night to benefit Books for Keeps. Some of our key volunteers will be hosting storytime in costume for the event. If you missed the last CFA storytime, be sure you don’t miss this one!
March 2, 8-11pm – It’s Casino Night at the Kappa house! This brand new event from our friends at KKG will be a fun evening of games for Kappas and friends, and all the proceeds will benefit Books for Keeps!
March 7, 7pm – The incredible team at Rabbit Box has invited Books for Keeps to be a part of the magic of storytelling with the March event, titled “A Life Well Read.” Come out to hear some incredible storytellers talk about how a specific book has impacted their lives, MC’d by BFK alum, Rachel Watkins!
March 22, 4:30-9pm –  Southern Brewing Company has been gracious enough to host a percentage night benefiting Books for Keeps. This will be [...]

By |February 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on It MUST be event season in Athens!|

On goals, thinking big, and making a huge leap forward!

What a whirlwind year-end! It was a reminder for us that setting goals – ones that even seem ridiculous at first – can make the once-impossible seem like no big deal.  

In November, we announced our biggest year-end fundraising goal ever: to raise $66,000 in the final eight weeks of the year. It was almost $20,000 more than what we raised in at the end of 2016. We knew this would be a stretch goal – but the number was an important one to put out there. Books for Keeps is trying to add 2,200 children to our program in spring 2018. That big, scary $66,000 goal represented the sponsorships needed just to increase our program size (to say nothing of sustaining our program at existing schools!)

Two weeks before the end of the year, it looked a little dreary. Donations slowed way down in the week before Christmas. We prepared ourselves for falling far short, but congratulated ourselves on a terrific year-end. We would at least match the 2016 totals – a high-water mark for us. (Heck, just in October, we learned we would be getting our biggest grant ever – a $35,000 commitment from the Riverview Foundation to help fund our program in Elbert County.)

However, we totally underestimated the generosity of our community – a growing community of people from the new counties we serve – like Elbert – and from our wider community of supporters from as far as Texas and California.

So, it’s with much excitement that we share the results of our 2017 year-end campaign –


With the final sponsorships, grants, and individual checks that came in the mail just today, Jan. 4 – post-marked December 29th and December 30th, we raised an [...]

By |January 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on On goals, thinking big, and making a huge leap forward!|

Call for volunteer interns for spring 2018!

We are looking for interns for spring of 2018! Are you interested in positively impacting your community, while getting hands-on experience in a thriving Athens-based nonprofit? Books for Keeps wants YOU!   
Our staff of three – Program Manager Louis Crow, Media Coordinator Rainey Lynch, and Executive Director Leslie Hale – are seeking candidates to fill two internship openings. Both interns would begin in January, and applications will be accepted until both positions are filled.

Join us and get practical experience managing social media, fundraising, coordinating volunteers, and more. Spring is a busy, exciting time at Books for Keeps as we prepare to give away an estimated 100,000 books in area elementary schools.

Click the links to learn more about our Communications Intern position and our Volunteer Management Intern position, including instructions for applying to both.

By |December 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Call for volunteer interns for spring 2018!|