It’s been a quiet week in Athens, so I’ve been counting, counting, counting. Here’s what we’ve got:5,426 Beginner (ex: Dr. Seuss, Little Golden Books)4,028 Chapter Books, level 1 (grades 1-2)3,497 Chapter books, level 2 (grades 3-5) 931 Chapter books, level 3 (advanced books, grade 5)2,517 Middle/High school 606 UnsortedI hope that adds up to 17,007… but I’m pretty tired after 8 hours of counting books so no guarantees!The total doesn’t include our books in Greenville. It’s been quiet here, but over at Kay’s house… totally different story. BookMoochers are burying her in an avalanche of books. Keep ’em coming.
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.
We’re slowly but surely digging ourselves out from under the wall of books donated in October. Counting is the next-to-last-step in the process, just before boxing & placing in storage, so it takes a while to get around to it.Right now, we have 6,997 books inspected, sorted by reading level, counted, and boxed for storage. In addition to that, we have sorted out about 2,000 “barter books”: these are adult books or kids books we can’t distribute, but will trade or sell some other way to get more kids’ books. I’m not done yet! There are about 1,000 books that were in such bad shape they can’t be used or sold. Books with mildew in the pages, ripped covers, missing pages, falling apart. So if you’re keeping count, we’ve processed about 10,000 books so far. AND…… I can easily say there are 3,000 (maybe even 4,000) more books that haven’t been touched yet. Fingers crossed that they’re usable kids’ books; if not, we’ll figure something out!No wonder my back is aching. Keep the books coming. We especially need “chapter books” for grades 2-5. Thousands of them. Spread the word.
Today’s inventory: 4,581 books! BUT: that doesn’t count the 10-15 boxes of unsorted, uncounted, uninspected books that have piled up from recent donations. Whatever It Takes has offered me two rooms to sort and store books, so I’ve started dropping off all new donations there. We’ll have a big sort day and figure out a new inventory count. But for now… here’s what I have in my closets, dining room, and garage:1,198 Beginner (ex: Dr. Seuss, Little Golden Books) 709 Chapter Books, level 1 (grades 1-2) 492 Chapter books, level 2 (grades 2-4) 406 Chapter books, level 3 (grades 3-5) 908 Middle/High school 167 Junie B Jones 142 Captain Underpants 363 Goosebumps 51 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (check it out!!!) 145 Loose (all levels, counted but not sorted)That’s a lot of books, folks. But not nearly enough if we’re going to eradicate the nasty Summer Slide. Clean off your bookshelves, then tell your friends!
3,007 to be exact(ish). And it’s only September 7th. Books for Keeps supporters are sending a clear message: summer slide is going to take a BIG hit next summer. Y’all are the best. Better than the best. I’m in awe. Athens kids have no idea what’s coming their way next spring….
I’ve sorted most of the books inside the house. Notice the word inside; I’m ignoring the truck. I sorted out books that can’t be given to the kids, which takes our count down a little. But here are the details… for the curious among you.One thing is clear from this count: we need more Junie B Jones & Captain Underpants. Please help if you can!655 Beginner (ex: Dr. Seuss, Little Golden Books)414 Chapter Books, level 1 (grades 1-2)389 Chapter books, level 2 (grades 2-4)245 Chapter books, level 3 (grades 3-5)353 Middle/High school 79 Junie B Jones 95 Captain Underpants214 Goosebumps 27 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (check it out!!!)173 Loose (all levels, counted but not sorted)You’d think after sorting about 800 books today I’d have been able to handle that last 173. Maybe next time.As for the books that couldn’t be used: 24 will be used to barter for credits or points; 35 will be donated to charity; 97 will be taken to Better World Books for recycling.
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!
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.
Finally… FINALLY (!!!) I’ve finished sorting, counting, and boxing books. I came up with a new system that will make it easier to deliver books in spring. Basically I came up with 5 categories based on reading level, and I just box the books at random according to reading level. Here’s the breakout:105 Beginner (ex: Dr. Seuss, Little Golden Books)128 chapter Books, level 1 (grades 1-2)143 chapter books, level 2 (grades 2-4)133 chapter books, level 3 (grades 3-5)40 chapter books, advanced (longer books for more advanced readers)9 Junie B Jones52 Captain Underpants68 Goosebumps2 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2 more on the way….)That’s 680 books if my math is correct. Seems like a lot, and seems like nothing – all at the same time. My guestimate for now (will have a better idea when school starts) is that it’ll take about 1,000 books per elementary school to give 3 books per child. And I’m looking into ways to give more books to children who are known to be in need. More on that later, but I made some progress today, hooray!Thanks everybody, for your support, for your books, for your ideas. Spread the word. 680 books is just the beginning.