Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Ready to Roll

We've moved the 200 boxes of books into the new space, unloaded 5 pallets of stationery and are currently moving the last boxes out of the garage.
The library shelving is in place (thanks to some wonderful volunteers found via the Freecycle Cafe,) and the shelves are starting to fill up. It is so wonderful to have one whole room devoted only to English books and another room for all the other languages.

There will be plenty of space for volunteers and we hope to be able to help a number of people to learn some basic office skills and become familiar with the world of books. More on this later, but plans are afoot. For now it is just a huge pleasure to be able to unpack books into an organized, clean space and be in a position to invite groups to come to us for books and other items we have to give away. The plentiful supply of stationery we have received from Staples is certainly more than welcome at a time when so many small charities and community organisations are strapped for cash as a result of all the cuts.

Be sure to contact us if your group needs books so that we can make an appointment. Email us: borderlinebooks [@] blueyonder.co.uk

Thursday, 25 August 2011

At last!!

Finally we can share the good news we have been crossing fingers and toes about for the past 3 weeks. Through a hook-up with Healthy Planet we have been given access to a wonderful work-space down on Team Valley in Gateshead. At last we will be able to get all the books out of storage in different places and have the space to sort, stamp and display them on real library shelving so that we will finally be able to see what we have and be better able to distribute them efficiently. It's also a perfect space to be able to work with volunteers and for organsations to be able to come to us to choose suitable books for the people they work with.

This shows some of the more than 100 cartons of books in storage which we will now be able to release (and stop paying for!) They are part of the largest single donation of books we have received in the UK so far - from Eddison Sadd. They are books and cards in many different languages which will be a huge asset to us and the people for whom we aim to provide books. It has been impossible to unpack them before now owing to the huge volume and wide variety of languages. Once our new shelving is constructed, we'll be in a position to sort them by language and subject and arrange them as in a 'real' library.

For now we are cleaning up, collecting freecycled and recyled office furniture, a fridge and a few other items - we might splash out and buy a rubbish bin - but as far as we can, we'll find what we need and stick wtih the free spirit.

All this in contrast to the day before we got the keys, when someone had attempted to break into the current store-room. Probably out of frustration at being unable to break the locks, they kindly smashed my car window.... All this was discovered when I went out to load the boxes that had been prepared to give away at a local summer fun day. Definitely not a nice experience - and so ironic that, had the perpetrator been in prison or recently released, I would more than likely be offering them free books.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

fingers and toes crossed

It looks as if things are finally on the move - we are about to set up some new projects in Newcastle - details to follow when we have an official starting date. also we've been offered some wonderful library shelving - just what we need... however, since it is such perfect library shelving, we need a perfectly library-sized space in order to accept them...

And this is where the finger-crossing continues.... well, just keep your fingers crossed. I don't want to jinx anything......

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Onward and upward

Unsurprisingly we did not win the £5000 in the Co-Op Join the Revolution competition - but we came 15th regionally and in the top 40 nationally, which was encouraging.

So it's back to the drawing-board, fundraising, looking for a suitable work-space and people to help with sorting and distributing the books.

It's a mystery to me why - when the books are so welcomed by all the organizations we donate to - it is so very difficult to find anyone to help make it happen and grow.

Not one to give up, I continue with the optimism that 'some day' the penny will drop and a real working project will grow.

Please help!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

We are joining the revolution and hoping to get enough votes to 'win' £5000 to support Borderline Books in placing more and more bookshelves in more and more local community centres and other spots where people can access them. At the moment we are still running unfunded, which limits us severely. We cannot continue to rely on private donations as it is just not sustainable.

So please vote for us - click here to get to the page

Friday, 15 April 2011

London + Book fair

Oh... the London Book Fair is a sad affair.... It was originally set up so that small independent publishers who could not afford to go to the Frankfurt Book fair could show their titles to publishers on their way to Germany (any excuse for a trip to London for Americans!)
Each time the LBF has 're-vamped' it has locked out more and more small publishers and ALL of the Black publishers. It is now a bland collection of hyper-super-multi-national sharks who have devoured so many independent houses (at least in the EC1 end of the Earls Court exhibition hall). The few small publishers who used to exhibit upstairs, before that was turned into an agent's centre are gone.... Some publishers use upstairs for their meetings, thus missing the chance to exhibit and pick up passing contacts, others band together in groups, making it possible either to reach the books they have on display or to sit at a tiny table to conduct meetings... not an ideal situation as it is almost impossible for anyone to browse the books on display...

EC2 has a few foreign publishers paying through the nose for a booth, and a lot of e-book companies and remainder dealers... and a few UK publishers , but very few - including our most generous benefactor this year Eddison Sadd (thanks again)

So... I escaped after 2 days into a London that seems like a foreign land to me after so many years. Found Charing Cross Road eventually (behind the builders' hoardings) and about two 'proper' second hand/antiquarian bookshops where there used to be dozens.

Just how much coffee does a city need?


Is this all too negative? Sorry, I did manage to buy a few books for friends and family while out on the streets - and one for myself called 'They Say': Ida B Wells and the Reconstruction of Race by James West Davidson.... a very, very interesting book which I am enjoying reading and from which I am learning a lot (like the Republicans used to be the party that supported Black people back in the day, while the Democrats and KKK did all they could to keep them down.

Monday, 28 February 2011

World Book Day/Night

Every time I see mention of this massive give-away of books I get antsy.
Ten years - well, ten years as of September - we have been giving away books in the Netherlands and the UK and no-one is writing headlines about what we do. We are not sponsored by anyone except those few publishers who understand that sending us their foreign language reading copies and copies of their titles in translation is probably a Good Idea.

For ten years we have been giving books to organisations such as Crisis, Shelter, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, the Cyrenians, Womens Aid and all manner of small local groups helping refugees and those hoping to get asylum. Not to mention Barnado's, the YMCA, youth clubs and homework clubs. We continue to try to get a bookshelf into community centres and clubs, and promise to fill and refill the shelves as necessary.

Letting each place decide whether to make it a library or simply a 'free books' shelf is up to them. The main aims are (1) to prevent the destruction of perfectly good books and (2) to make books easily available to people who might not otherwise make the effort to go out and find them.
And - since we never know what we will get, if someone enjoys a book by a certain author, we can encourage them to go to the library to find more.

So, what will I be doing on World Book Day/Night? - Wishing I hadn't given away the wheelbarrow when I moved to the UK!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Our cup runneth over......

Can't believe I haven't written anything since Christmas. Things are on the move to the point of bursting... we have overflowed into an official storage space down in the valley. Staples are sending regular clear-outs of stationery and we recently received a gigantic amount of really good gel pens that everyone loves. The funding cuts in the UK means that youth services are being slashed, womens' services as well - there's probably more money for ageing donkeys now than there is for abused women.
All this means that organisations working in these areas are hugely grateful for our donations of stationery as well as books.
In some places the gifts of notebooks and pens are opening the doors for people to start thinking about putting a bookshelf where there was none. I say that we will fill it and refill it; that they can let people borrow the books and if they like them so much that they keep them - so much the better.

We have to do some fundraising - shoestrings are cool, but you still have to buy a shoestring (although we also get lots of stuff from Freecycle and use things til they can't be repainted any more). the only costs really are fuel (ugh), now storage because of the overflow, and some publicity costs - mostly cheap printing from Vistaprint. It's amazing really how much we can do for next to nothing.

I'd love to see more people starting up local Borderline Books projects - the idea works anywhere where some people have too many books and others have none. Most people do a 'cull' of their bookshelves now and then - it's so easy to pass them on.....

Next week we will receive about a ton of books from a London publisher..... more about what we get when they arrive and I dive into the boxes. I never tire of opening mystery packages of books - which is just as well!