Ah, the sort room… what can I say? How about: you have to see it to believe it.

When Whatever It Takes offered me a space to sort and store books, I said Y-E-S. I wanted those books out of my dining room. A little cleanup was required; here’s what we started with.

The sort room, pre-cleanup…

… and the storage room, pre-cleanup.

Marcus, Kuk-Kyoung and Brett, great guys from the UGA Volunteer Management program, came by and helped me clean it out and set it up. We have desks all along the walls for sorting books, and bins down the middle of the room for each category of books.

Shawn and her assistants came by for a quick review of all the middle/high school books. Aside from the prison-like decor, it looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

While they sorted, I moved in boxes in preparation for our first volunteer sort day. I’d never tried to teach anyone my sort methods… these brave souls offered to be guinea pigs.

We had a second volunteer sort day but sadly, no pictures. It’s too bad, because that’s when things started getting crazy. While we sorted, people kept stopping by with more and more boxes of books. By the end of the day we could barely squeeze out the door.

And then I went to Atlanta to fetch books from Stephanie, Polly, and Celia…

…and then Bayne brought in books from Terrie & Ashley’s URS book drive….

…and then Molly brought by a last batch of books from the Athens book drive…

…and Leigh brought by a last batch of books from Rachel’s CDC book drive…

…and then the mail came…

… and Leigh brought more books, and Linh brought more books… and here’s the sort room today:

The books are coming in faster than I can process, even with help. But there’s another issue. I’ve learned from my 2 volunteer sort days that everyone’s judgment about a book’s reading level is different. Call me slow, but I finally figured out I need concrete rules that leave no room for opinion or judgment. So… no more sorting until I’ve got that worked out. Hopefully I’m close; some wonderful women are coming by Wednesday to help me test & tweak the new system.

Another showstopper: the need for shelving in the storage room. The boxes will tip over if we stack them too high. Bayne and a few volunteers are building shelves this weekend. By this time next week, Books for Keeps should be back on track.

Does this help you understand why I haven’t updated the inventory count in quite some time? My knees go weak every time I walk into the sort room. I never saw this coming, folks. Did you?