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!