Books for Keeps blog

Sell a book. Change a life. Volunteer at the BFK Book Sale.

Summer is winding down, and soon it will be back to the grind of PTA meetings and soccer practice, the crush of football traffic, and the routine that fall brings.Not to worry – Books for Keeps has the perfect opportunity to ease you back into the school year. Come volunteer at the third annual BFK Book Sale, between August 22 and 25 (Thursday through Sunday).It’s the weekend before the UGA football season opener, and we have a great location this year: Homewood Village Shopping Center (just off the loop, in the same center as Taqueria La Parrilla).Sign up for a volunteer shift at HandsOn Northeast Georgia or email Leslie Hale at to sign up. We need volunteers who can run the cash register, check out shoppers, answer questions, read to kids, and organize inventory.Shifts are as follows:Thursday, Aug. 22 — 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.Friday, Aug. 23 — 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (we will be feeding volunteers in this shift lunch from Mama’s Boy!)Friday, Aug. 23 — 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.Saturday, Aug. 24 — all shifts fullSunday, Aug. 25 — 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (we will be feeding volunteers lunch from someplace TBD on this day)Sunday, Aug. 25 — 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.This is our biggest fundraiser of the year! Last year’s book sale raised $16,000 – all of which went back into buying books to keep kids here in Athens reading all summer long.All year long, we receive donated books. Many of them are adult books, or they are children’s books that aren’t quite right for our program. At Books for Keeps, though, every book has a purpose. The books we cannot use make money to help us buy more books [...]

By |August 2nd, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sell a book. Change a life. Volunteer at the BFK Book Sale.|

The BFK Book Sale is back – and it’s going to be better than ever!

It’s that time of year again.You know, the one where you tell your inner book lover that it’s OK to go crazy. It’s OK to just buy an extra five books (or ten or twenty) rather than picking them up at the library. Because it’s the BFK Book Sale.We’re pleased to announce that we have the best location yet for our third annual sale, and by far the best selection of books to showcase. Because every book at the sale was donated to us, it means every dollar you spend on books at the BFK Book Sale goes right back into purchasing books that will get kids in Athens excited about reading all summer long.So don’t hold back. Join us August 22 through 25 at Homewood Village Shopping Center, 2415-C Jefferson Road (next to Harry’s BBQ Bistro), for a long weekend of great books. Our prices can’t be beat – our most expensive books start at $3, and prices will be reduced over each day of the sale.We’re also planning lots of fun extras for the book sale, like live music, a Kids’ Corner where volunteers will be reading to your little ones while you shop, and more. Keep checking back here for details as we set them. You can also join our event on Facebook, follow updates on our Facebook page, or sign up for our newsletter.See you at Homewood Village in August!BFK Book Sale dates and times:Thursday, Aug. 22 – 5 to 8 p.m.Sneak Preview Night: $10 admission gets you first crack at our amazing selection of booksFriday, Aug. 23 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.Friday Free-day: Our first free-admission day of the sale. Check out our best books before they’re gone.Saturday, [...]

By |July 18th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The BFK Book Sale is back – and it’s going to be better than ever!|

Class Sponsor: Dr. Tradd Harter: Classic City Orthodontics

It’s a pretty special thing to be able to say you were part of something – a true supporter – from the very beginning. That’s exactly the case with Classic City Orthodontics.Dr. Tradd Harter’s practice was one of the first local businesses to host a book drive benefiting Books for Keeps. Classic City Orthodontics now holds a drive every August. It has become so much a part of their routine in the fall that they remind patients to bring books to donate when making appointment reminder phone calls. For the first time this year, Dr. Harter’s practice served as a class sponsor, making it possible for us to provide 12 books and a tote bag to every student in a class during our May distributions.This sense of involvement in the community is an important facet of the Classic City Orthodontics team. They support the Children’s Book Series at the Classic Center, and are supporters of other service organizations such as The Junior League of Athens and Project Safe.”We at Classic City Orthodontics have a heart for kids because we specialize in orthodontics for children and adolescents,” Dr. Harter says. “We support charities that focus on issues that affect this age group. Books for Keeps is an important cause that works to build literacy among children, and they are making an enormous difference in our community. We plan to continue to support Books for Keeps with our annual fall book drive and also as a sponsor.”Dr. Harter’s commitment is also personal – he and his wife, Betsy, and son Gavin have been to the warehouse to help sort and box books. Members of the community who dedicate their time, energy, AND money are truly special [...]

By |June 27th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Class Sponsor: Dr. Tradd Harter: Classic City Orthodontics|

The annual BFK Book Sale is upon us!

Have you heard?Our annual BFK Book Sale is coming up August 22-25. So, mark the date on your calendars and get ready for our best-stocked, most exciting book sale yet. If you don’t know, the Books for Keeps Book Sale is our biggest fundraiser of the year. We take the donated books that cannot be given to children and we sell them so we can buy more books the kids can use. We’re still looking for a location, so if you know of a vacant space we could use for about two weeks leading up to and during the book sale, let us know. On our wish list for that space: 4,000 to 5,000 square feet, a loading dock, and air conditioning. Anyone with ideas or space can email Leslie: But, before we can get in there and sell our fantastic stock of titles, we have to finish sorting through the thousands of donations we’ve received in the past year. If you’re interested in helping, or maybe just getting a sneak peek of the books, our next volunteer book sort will be June 29. Sign up at the link above, or send an email to We would love your help! And if you can’t help on June 29, but want to get on the volunteer list for the book sale weekend in August, let us know that too.

By |June 18th, 2013|2013 Book Sale, How You Can Help|Comments Off on The annual BFK Book Sale is upon us!|

Another first for Books for Keeps!

I wanted you to hear it from me first:  at long last, Books for Keeps has taken the leap and committed to a full-time executive director! Leslie Hale, our new executive director, is living proof that everyone at Books for Keeps is serious about providing more books to more children… and soon. And she is READY!Where will I be? Right here, of course. You can reach me at first big project, now that Leslie’s on board? Finding a warehouse (and the funds to pay for it) so that we can collect, inspect, and sort more books, with more volunteers, more of the time. Who wants to help?  (Seriously… help?!!)We also have a new email address: it’s now  What else has changed? Nothing – unless you count the exponential increase in our potential to end summer slide in Athens.Here are a few details.  Welcome to Books for Keeps, Leslie!– MelaneyFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Contact:Melaney Smith, Books for Keeps, Inc.(404) 808-8625melaney.smith@booksforkeeps.orgBOOKS FOR KEEPS HIRES FIRST FULL-TIME EXECUTIVE DIRECTORATHENS, GA. – June 4, 2013 – Transitioning from a volunteer-run organization to a fully professionalized nonprofit, Athens-based Books for Keeps has hired its first full-time executive director.Leslie Hale, a May 2013 recipient of a master’s degree from The University of Georgia, officially took the reins on Monday as the nonprofit’s first full-time director. The move comes two years after Books for Keeps’ incorporation as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, and four years after founder Melaney Smith distributed books for the first time to a few classrooms at Alps Road Elementary School in Athens.“Books for Keeps started because I saw a need in Athens that I couldn’t ignore – and after being sustained through the hard work of volunteers and [...]

By |June 3rd, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Another first for Books for Keeps!|

It’s Here! 2013 Book Distribution Schedule

Book distributions are less than three weeks away! For 50 weeks, we’ve collected, inspected, sorted and boxed books. Now comes the fun part – we’ll spend the first two weeks of May giving them all away!Join us as we help children select and count their books and record their feedback on our book selection. The one word that seems to best describe the experience:  JOY. No special skills are required; training is provided in the first 10 minutes of each shift.Sign up for a shift here, on our Volunteer Spot page. If you are part of a group that would like to adopt an entire shift, simply enter your name and the number of people you’ll bring.  The schedule, including the number of volunteers still needed as of Monday, April 15:GAINES ELEMENTARY Monday April 29:  7:45-11:00 and 11:45-2:15  Tuesday April 30: 7:45-11:00 and 11:15-1:45JJ HARRIS ELEMENTARYWednesday May 1:  8:00-11:00 and 11:20-2:30  Thursday May 2: 8:45-11:00 (Shifts left: 2)FOWLER DRIVE ELEMENTARYFriday May 3:  7:45-10:45 and 11:20-1:00 Monday May 6:  7:45-10:35 and 10:40-12:15 (Shifts left: 4)ALPS ELEMENTARYTuesday May 7:  7:45-11:00 and 12:20-2:00Wednesday May 8:  8:00-10:45STROUD ELEMENTARYThursday May 9:  8:45-10:45 and 11:20-2:30 (Shifts left: 4)Friday May 10:  8:50-12:15

By |April 9th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on It’s Here! 2013 Book Distribution Schedule|

Help Needed This Weekend!

We have the books, now we need to get them boxed and ready for delivery to schools!  Come help us box books this weekend at the warehouse, and you’ll get a sneak peek at the wonderful books we’ll be distributing this year.  Saturday March 1610:00-12:30   Need: 5   Have:412:30-2:00     Need: 5   Have:4Sunday March 1710:00-12:30   Need: 5   Have:312:30-2:00     Need: 5   Have: 5If you can help, contact Melaney at Let me know the shift, and I’ll send you directions.

By |March 15th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Help Needed This Weekend!|

Updated List of Book Drive Participants!

Book drive month is well underway and we are so grateful to all of the organizations who are hosting book drives for Books for Keeps this month. Check out our updated list of our Book Drive Month Participants below. (Participants with addresses listed are serving as drop-off locations for others to donate books.)Allergy Partners of Athens 3320 Old Jefferson RoadAllstate Offices in Athens, GAAlpha Chi OmegaAlpha Delta PiAlpha Kappa AlphaAthens AcademyAthens Area Humane SocietyAthens First Bank & Trust   310 Alps Road   124 East Hancock   2365 Prince Avenue   4000 Atlanta HwyAthens Mothers CenterAvid BookshopBeta ClubCamilla Bracewell’s granddaughter Adaline McCullickCenter for Family ResearchCompassionate Care HospiceDelta ZetaFoodbuy, LLCGaines Elementary SchoolGamma Phi BetaHodgson’s PlaceHouse Electric 1045 Baxter StreetJefferson County HighJunior League of AthensKappa Alpha ThetaKeep Athens Beautiful Kiwanis ClubMedical Rehabilitation Systems 104 Moores Grove Rd Winterville Model Citizen Salon 497 Prince Ave.K. Craver Book ClubNew Haven BaptistNew Prospect Elementary in AlpharettaOconee PresbyterianOconee Street UMCOmni Club Both Athens locationsPump It UpSigma Delta TauStiles PropertiesTotal Training CenterTrinity LutheranUnitarian Universalist FellowshipThank you so much to all of our participants! These book drives will make a difference in the life of a child in the Athens Community.It’s not too late to add your name to the list! Holding a book drive is as simple as posting a message on Facebook (or sending an email) and sitting out a collection box. Contact for details and assistance in getting started.

By |March 14th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Updated List of Book Drive Participants!|

Class Sponsor: Niolon Lumber Sales

Niolon Lumber Sales is a family-owned lumber company that produces special-built pallets, custom made skids, and specialty-cut wood products.  They specialize in custom-made shipping containers for over-sized and oddly-sized products.  The Niolon family members were Books for Keeps earliest supporters. The very first year we gave away 240 books, the Niolons provided the cutest bags as well as art supplies and activity books. The Niolons have been supporting Books for Keeps ever since that fledgling effort, and family members can be found at nearly every Books for Keeps event.  What a blessing to Athens children, and to Books for Keeps.Thank you, Joe, Susan, Leigh, Trey, Phyllis, Simmy & Rachel!–Melaney

By |March 9th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Class Sponsor: Niolon Lumber Sales|

Books for Keeps Class Sponsors

What would we do without our generous class sponsors?  Whether businesses, civic groups, family memorials or groups of friends, these folks contributed $480 to provide 12 books to every child in one class.  Click the links to read their stories, if they’ve shared them, or to visit their web sites. May, 2014 Class SponsorsWe are now seeking sponsors for 105 classes of students in K-5 at five Athens elementary schools where 90% or more of students qualify for free/reduced-price lunch.  We hope to have our books ready to go by December 31st, so we need sponsors now!  Thank you to these generous sponsors:Five Points YogaModel Citizen SalonMay 2013 Class SponsorsAllergy Partners of Georgia Bitsy Grant Round Robin TournamentGwinnett Lumber Remanufacturing Griffin Family MemorialHolland and CompanyJohn Wilhelm MemorialMacrae Designs MDS Girls (2 Classes)Niolon Lumber SalesSusan Cooper Memorial (4 classes) UNC Kappa Girls Anonymous, Athens GAAnonymous, Athens GAAnonymous, Athens GA Anonymous, Arcade GA

By |March 9th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Books for Keeps Class Sponsors|