photo - A Tower of Used Books - Jorge Royan, 2008
Here we are in 2015 and I didn't even get here in time to say Happy New Year.....
2014 was a record year for us - we gave away a total of 7,106 books, which is wonderful as it shows that we are needed and more people are starting to see the value in giving away free books.
One of the big pieces of news at the end of the year was that we delivered 700 books to Incommunities - Open Field, who will open a Bradford branch of Borderline Books in March. We are hoping that this could be the start of the spread of Borderline Books to Leeds, Manchester, York, Carlisle.... wherever there are people who are homeless, women's refuges, hostels for young people, people returning to the community from prison....... which is basically any town large enough for Boots or McDonalds........ The idea is very simple and it can be carried out in many different ways to support whoever is running and using the project. Please contact us if you need more information. books [at] borderlinebooks.org
This year we are taking on a number of new volunteers to help with outreach, office management and generally keeping things going so that some of us are able to go out and meet people and see how the books are being used in various places.
We had a visit in January by a group from Carr Hill Primary School who had taken our Gingerbread House to school before Christmas. They collected a HUGE amount of books for us - books they had grown out of and books the staff and parents had donated - totally wonderful. They had a good time choosing some new books for themselves and a friend or parent. Carr Hill are planning to bring more children down to use in the next few weeks.
New Contacts this year include Riverside Community Health Project, who are proposing to provide plenty of free books to their service users (could we not just call them humans, visitors, friends?), Making Winter Warmer, who took lots of warm clothes, toiletries and other items people had donated to us to be passed on, and Gateshead Evolve, who have fantastic plans for supporting people in recovery. We are very much looking forward to working closely with them in the near future.
It's really important for us to keep making new contacts with organisations supporting vulnerable and marginalised groups in need of books. If we don't keep up with the tsunami of books donated to us, then the whole thing is pointless.
As for Kindles etc.... the number of people who tell us they bought an e-reader two or three years ago, or were given one as a present, but they just don't use them any more is amazing :-) [snigger!]