Books for Keeps blog

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!|

Meet our newest class-level sponsor!

If you haven’t been following our website closely, you may have missed some of our newest- and recently renewed- class-level sponsors for 2017! Though we can never truly express the extent of our gratitude, we are going to give it a shot.

After wrapping up our biggest round of distributions ever – with 74,000 books distributed to 6,200 children in four counties – we find ourselves reflecting on those individuals and companies whose support is so important in helping us reach those children. Our program – from the early days through this latest round of expansion – has been built on those people who step up and give a dollar to help buy a book, or $30 to sponsor a child, or $600 to sponsor a class.

This post will highlight the class sponsors that came on board or renewed in 2016-17 to help make this year’s program a reality. Look for more posts soon about our grade-level sponsors and some of our very special school sponsors!

Most recently, we’ve been honored to have Redfin as our newest class-level sponsor. Redfin reached out to our executive director, Leslie Hale, directly to learn more about how they could help Books for Keeps accomplish our goals – after being referred by an Atlanta-area Redfin agent. Welcome to the BFK family, Redfin!

Other class-level sponsors that renewed or came on board within the last program year:

Willard & Patti Hale
Sharon Jenkins
Lois & Lucy Lampkin Foundation
Kay Cook
JOMA Construction
Diane & Frank Klonowski
Coca-Cola Enterprises
Leon Farmer and Company
John & Katie Goette
Classic City Orthodontics
Sheneka Williams
Georgia Power
The Winthrop Foundation of Athens, GA

By |June 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Meet our newest class-level sponsor!|

Have you met our partner volunteer organizations?!

We are so thankful to all the wonderful organizations that came out to volunteer during 2017 distributions! Did you know that over a dozen individual groups came out to help make our distribution season a special experience for everyone? We are so grateful to be partnered with so many organizations and companies from our community that love to give back that we want to highlight those special partners:

Morgan and Morgan, Attorneys at Law
First Presbyterian Church of Athens
Avid Bookshop
United Way of Greater Atlanta
Athens Housing and Community Development
Sigma Tau Delta of University of North Georgia
House Electric
United Way of Northeast Georgia
Community Partnership of Elbert County
First Book UGA
Family Connection-Communities in Schools of Warren County
Allstate Agents (from Athens and Atlanta)
Northeast Georgia RESA
Classic City Rotary Club
Ethicon (Cornelia, GA location)
Georgia-Pacific Partners (from Warrenton and Warm Springs)


Thank you once more to all of these incredible organizations and community members who helped make this year’s distribution season the most successful yet!

By |June 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Have you met our partner volunteer organizations?!|

7 ways YOU can help keep the good going

Were you or a friend able to make it out to book distributions this year?  We’re so grateful to you for being a part of the story. And there are always opportunities to be involved. We want to share with you seven additional ways you can support and stay involved with Books for Keeps:

Complete our volunteer survey here and tell us about your experience. We want to know what we’re doing well and how we can do better as we work to reach more children together!

Tell 10 people about Books for Keeps and the magic you witnessed with us! Leverage your social media networks by sharing our Facebook page or Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Give, and invite two other people to give. The cost to sponsor a child is just $30 – or $600 to sponsor a classroom. And we can do so much with any amount in between! We have new monthly giving options available through our website so you can stretch your impact across the whole year. Now is a critical time for us, as we close out our fiscal year-end on June 30 and pay all final bills on the books we gave away!

Check for matching donation programs through your employer. Many companies will double your donation.

Rate us on and share your story of joy, excitement, and the magic of reading with fellow volunteers across Athens. (You can also review us on Facebook!)
Host a book drive through your church, civic group, or business. Any books, for children or adults, that we can’t use in our program go to our annual BFK Book Sale.
Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with us throughout the year, learn about other [...]

By |June 2nd, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 7 ways YOU can help keep the good going|