I stopped by ShirtWorks to see how the printing of our tote bags is progressing. They look FABULOUS! The kids will be carrying their books home in style, don’t you think?We are so grateful to the Kenneth T. and Mildred S. Gammons Foundation for the grant that made these bags possible. The books will be transported safely home, and owning this bag will remind the kids to read, read, read.
You know what we really, really love here at Books for Keeps? When books pour in so fast we can hardly keep up. If I figured it correctly, donors from 5 countries and 17 states have jumped in to help by donating books, funds, or points – just in the last three weeks!BookMoochers and Library Thingers around the world are doing their best to bury Kay in books over in Greenville. She’ll be bringing the books to Athens just in time for our May book distributions.Thank you, everyone who’s sending books and/or making point deals that allow Kay to mooch even more: Yoana in AZ (Wimpy Kids!!!), Brenda in Maine (we appreciate the title suggestions, too), Kathleen in MN (good eye for what we need!), and Gerri in Canada (we needed those Goosebumps). I’m not sure if Peta and Michelle know each other (Peta’s in the UK; Michelle’s in Canada), but together they are so on top of what we need it feels like they’re a tag-team. Thank you!THANK YOU, BookMoochers: Nessa in French Polynesia, Jenny in the UK, Sandra in Canada, Marcy, Jennifer, Michelle & Kelsey in NY, “damaistriona”, Melanie and Lizzy in MD, Merwyn, AC, Meg, Carla and Kerry in CA, Mitch and Briana in GA, Annie in AZ, Runa in VA, Mandi in IA, Nancy in WV, Jeremy in CT, Rebecca in NJ, “CD” in PA, Kat in IL, Krista in TX, Gabrielle in MA, and Michelle in NC. Thank you also to John, BookMooch Founder, for a generous point donation just when we needed it most.Kay sees most of the mail-in action, but a few packages still show up at my house [...]
DID YOU KNOW: it costs $850 just to apply for IRS 501(c)(3) certification?Yes, you read that correctly. $850!Once again, Celia Baker and IntelliGRACS Group have come through for Books for Keeps. They’re funding this application fee for us. We couldn’t afford it otherwise.Which reminded me… I never introduced you to Books for Keeps’ new best friend. She was a gift from Celia and ItelliGRACS Group.I called Celia from Harbor Freight to see if she’d donate funds to purchase tarps after our storage room roof leak. In true Celia style, she said “What else do you need that you’re doing without?” I told her about the cart. Her reply: “BUY TWO.”There are 15+ bags/boxes of books crammed on this cart! Can you imagine how many trips it used to take to unload books from the parking lot? One box at a time, from the car, through 3 sets of doors, to our sort room.Celia, what would Books for Keeps do without you? I thank you, my back thanks you, and so does every Books for Keeps donor who’s ever navigated those three sets of doors with arms full of books. And your funding of our 501(c)(3) application is a gift that will keep on giving. Thank you.
Books for Keeps has a new group of supporters and they’re probably our youngest yet. Welcome, Rocky Branch Elementary third-graders!The entire third grade at Rocky Branch Elementary school in Oconee County, GA participated in a book drive for Books for Keeps and raised 372 books. The books included many much-needed picture books for our youngest readers, and I found a few Wimpy Kids hidden in there too.These kids cleaned off their own bookshelves to share with others. Their generosity is truly an inspiration. They’ve promised to send along a list of their favorite books to help us maintain our wishlists.Thank you, Rocky Branch Elementary third-graders! The books are a wonderful gift, and so are you.
Wow. I’m flipping through my notebook and that’s the word that comes to mind as I review the past couple weeks: WOW.I’m just going to jump right in.The customers of City Salon & Spa continue to donate books, thanks in large part to Shayne McBride’s never-ceasing effort to spread the word. Thank you all!The Books for Keeps “Out of State Angels” are out in full force. I have to tell you, I get such a boost from these women. I feel like they’re right here with me sorting books. So thank you, yet again, to Katherine in Kerrville TX; Heather in Yuma AZ; Donna in Mississauga Canada; Michelle in Kingston Canada; Jan in Davis CA; Peta in the UK; Carrie in New Ulm MN; Meg in CA; Sandra in Ontario Canada; Mary in Reidsville… all are sending books, donating funds, donating points, and/or proactively scouring thrift stores to find books on our wish lists. I hope I didn’t forget anyone… you ladies have a special place in my heart. BookMoochers continue to keep us flush with points, and as always their generosity is humbling. They give Books for Keeps a truly international base of supporters. Breaker and “annlchasek” in NY, Raoul in Canada, R&D in NE, Kath in OH, Emily and Kathleen in MN, Abigail in WI, Frank in MI, Robin in GA, Elizabeth in TX, Tania in France, Elizabeth in SC, Susan in CO, Renee in PA, Jeremy in CT, Sugar Creek Ranch in OR, and Laura in CA – thank you for the points! You’re helping us more than you can imagine.And speaking of BookMoochers: where would we be without Kay in Greenville SC? [...]
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.
Never, ever have I been so excited about something as simple as a set of bookshelves.Sorting screeched to a halt when I realized I was quickly running out of space in the storage room. There was a 25-foot set of cubbyholes preventing me from using one entire wall. Boxes were stacked 5 high on the other side and I didn’t feel comfortable stacking them any higher.Bayne hastily started the buy vs. build investigation, but the decision was made when Trey called to say that Niolon Lumber was donating the wood. The Niolons have been stepping in to save the day since the very first Books for Keeps distribution, back when we were still called “the Summer Satchel”. Talk about good friends!It was an interesting couple of days because I couldn’t do much to help. Marcus and Brett came by and moved all the existing boxes out of the way. Then Bayne and Trey came in and built the shelves (in about an hour!) Then Chad came by and moved all the boxes back in.Here’s the result:24 feet of shelving, a generous 24 inches deep. To me, it’s a beautiful sight! We have more lumber left over to build shelves on the other side of the room… just as soon as someone strong comes along to move 2 huge desks out of the way. In the meantime, Books for Keeps is now free to resume sorting & boxing books!Thank you Marcus, Brett, Trey, Bayne and Chad for taking our storage capabilities to the next level. And a special thank you to Niolon Lumber for donating – and custom cutting – the wood!
The latest book in the Wimpy Kid series was released on Nov 7th, and our first copy arrived today. Thank you Will in Statham GA! As promised, a bookplate with your name will be put inside the cover.It’s no secret we get excited about Wimpy Kid books. One of Books for Keeps goals is to reach reluctant readers. What better way than to provide copies of the #1 kid-requested book out there? So, Will – you get your name on a bookplate and the satisfaction of knowing that one child in Athens will be jumping for joy upon receiving this book. Thank you!
I started working backwards and may never finish… but check out some of the wonderful things people have done for Books for Keeps.Worth a special mention: JoBeth in Athens who cleaned off her bookshelves at UGA’s College of Education and donated 600-700 books. A special thanks to Cathy K who made all the arrangements, picked up, and delivered the books. But you all know that I’m just as grateful for one book as I am for 700, right? Don’t forget it!I’m trying my best to say thank you to everyone… it just might take a while.
I seriously don’t remember a four-week period where I’ve been so busy, so over-extended, and so stressed… well, without getting paid for it. But it’s so worth it! I’m reminded of a favorite George Bernard Shaw quote:”This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”The “force of nature” part, as applies to Books for Keeps, is not me – it’s you. Books for Keeps is gaining momentum at a rate I never envisioned and kind of can’t keep up with. Summer slide is the enemy and YOU are making Books for Keeps a force that is surely unstoppable.I woke up in the middle of the night agonizing over how many people I have not thanked properly for their help in the last month. Then it occurred to me: what a great problem to have. So many people to thank that it’s impossible to keep up. And I was reminded yet again, that gratitude is my favorite emotion.I have video (but no idea how to get it onto the web), pictures, success stories, volunteers and book donors … so much to tell you about. Two parties, two volunteer book sorting days, a Web site in the planning stages, upcoming book drives, a sort room that’s literally bursting at the seams with books, and some of the most generous, most incredible [...]