More Thanks

I don’t know where to start thanking people. If it’s not Sarah, Tara and Dave for acting so quickly to put up support on their site (and Sarah on her own site as well), or Rob or Omar or Sara or the Mathletes or the Squishettes or The Usual Suspects or everybody at TWoP who helped, who spread the word, who sent a little bit of love to Allison and Chris in their time of need. Thank you for the letters expressing sorrow over sweet Murphy, offers to help replace their belongings, and words of sympathy and understanding.

After weeks of helping Oakland with the book drive, you then gave a little more to two of my best friends. Thank you so much. The response to the fund has been amazing. Allison and Chris are as overwhelmed as they are shocked, and they are thanking you, too.

It has been a very crazy few days around here. I had to go to Oakland, of all places, to attend the wedding of the daughter of Jon Carroll, who did not know me, even though he had just written about me in his most recent article. I introduced myself as “,” and we geeked out on the front porch, discussing the evolution of the Internet. The wedding was beautiful — family and close friends — and I heard over five different languages spoken among fifty or so people. And Jon’s speech made me all weepy.

But mostly this weekend can be summed up best by AB, who said: Vince will be talkin’ to me and I’ll be all, “…huh? Fire, what? Chris and Allison, fire, fire, huh? What? Did you say ‘fire’?”

The book drive is still going strong, the fire drive is still going strong, and I am so impressed with the magnitude of your good deeds.

I’ll list the most recent donations in a second, but first:

I get a lot of email asking about archived entries. Some ask if they’ve made the book; others ask if they can get a copy of one, or want to know if it’s online somewhere. But next month will be the Five Year Anniversary of Isn’t that almost impossible? Five years? How?

So, to celebrate, I’ll be posting old entries at your request. I can’t post the ones that made it into the novel, but I can post the others that you’ve been missing. Send your requests and I will regularly post them during the month of June.

And now, the book donations.

Andrea Buchanan, writes:

[readermail]I came across your blog only recently, as I procrastinated my own novel-writing by following link after link after link after link on the net. Of course, once I got to your site and looked around, I followed the link to your forthcoming book, which looks fabulous. I can’t wait to read it! Shortly after visiting your site and reading up on the OPL crisis, my own book (“Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute of It,” released this month) got a lovely review from Library Journal, which whole-heartedly recommended the book “for all public libraries.” So in the spirit of Library Journal’s ringing endorsement, OPL’s gettin’ Shocked. I’m sending them a copy of the book today.[/readermail]

Alison writes:

[readermail]I have been catching up on the last several days entries this morning and got inspired by ALL the amazing folks who just keep giving and giving and giving, and by Cody’s books and their offer of free shipping, so I donated again (payday arrived and after paying my bills, I had a little left for a good deed.) I sent them McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, since it sounds like lots of fun, plus I really like Michael Chabon and also because it’s McSweeney’s, a very cool literary journal.[/readermail]

Kathleen is just one of the people who helped in two ways:

[readermail]Hi Pamie,

I was going to write a cheerful missive of how you galvanized me to donate a few (reasonably cheap, because times is hard) books to my own dear Burlingame, CA library, which broke a water main and flooded their bottom floor, thus destroying many of their books. Well, I did that:

Growing Family Fruit and Nut Trees
Naturalizing Bulbs
200 Tips for Growing Beautiful Roses
Mexican Cooking at the Academy

Because if my family tree is anything, it’s a nut tree, flowers are pretty, and Mexican food – yum.

But then I went to your site today and read about Chris and Allison. Now, I don’t even know these people, but I remember them getting together through your site. And I read as often as Allison updates. And I sent 20 bucks their way, since hey – it’s not a lot, but with 4 more people, that’s $100. And times is hard.

Good luck to Chris and Allison.[/readermail]

I’m so glad to see the library love is spreading to local branches who need help.

CG uses her caps lock often, but she’s still AWESOME:

[readermail]Well, I just intended to LOOK OVER the wish list and see how they were doing. Then I thought…well, so many people are being so generous, I probably should send them a book…then I figure…well, as long as I’m sending a book, I have to send one of Torey Hayden’s, too, because a library without Torey is just pitiful…and then, well, I heard Helen Lovejoy screaming in my ear to THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!! So I ended up sending The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah (it was on their wish list), One Child by Torey Hayden (her first book, also her best-known), Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (my favorite book when I was nine, and still one of my favorite books, come to think of it), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (my OTHER favorite book when I was nine, and again, still up there) and A Bargain for Frances by Russell and Lillian Hoban (the Frances books are great to read to kids and they’re great beginning readers. I love them, my parents love them, and I’ve bought them all for my cousin’s four-year-old daughter, who has this particular one memorized, despite its being the longest. I took that as Cailin’s recommendation for the pre-reader set.).

Damn peer pressure. Hope some folks in Oakland like these, anyway :) I know I love them all…except the first one, which I’ve never heard of…but I figured I should get something they actually WANTED :)[/readermail]

I had A Birthday for Frances when I was little… with an audio 45, I think. I listened to it all the time. I had completely forgotten it until just now.

Kate helped:

[readermail]I just sent Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott and A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I don’t think either are on the wish list, but there have been so many books sent from it that I thought I’d send a couple of my favorites. Plus, Anne Lamott lives in the Oakland/San Francisco area and is fantastic. If you haven’t tried her, you totally should.[/readermail]

A friend of mine has Howard Zinn tattooed on his arm. That’s a hardcore fan. People are all, “Who’s the old guy?”

Squishites from the days of yore remember the dynamic duo of Wendy and Heather. Well, Wendy sent another:

[readermail]Added another one today: The Secret Life of Bees. The title made me think of my precious Heather, so far away. She was always so frightened of bees!![/readermail]

Another Kate writes:

[readermail]I finally broke down and bought two books for the Oakland library- More Like Wrestling by Danyel Smith and Single Mom: A Novel. Thanks for doing this- I couldn’t imagine my childhood without a library.[/readermail]

You know, all of this book donating is sure keeping me updating every day, isn’t it?

Jennifer writes:

[readermail]Even though I really shouldn’t be buying more books and whatnot this month, as I have been a spending fiend at craft fairs and NEED TO STOP THAT…yes, I did it too. I picked out a book for Piedmont, since an old best friend of mine is from there. I hadn’t read any of the books left on the list (and I thought I was well read), but this one sounded like the one I’d like to read myself. I seem to be a sucker for WWII-related lit, and this author has done some good stuff.

Slap Your Sides, by M.E. Kerr.[/readermail]

Lisa sent a letter for those of you who love Reading Rainbow:

[readermail]I’m a mother of four, so money is obviously tight, so we have been getting books together to donate to our local library here in Jacksonville, FL. My two oldest daughters are 6 and 7 and they are just now learning to read books that have more than one sentence that repeats itself. They LOVE reading! And their favorite show is Reading Rainbow. They always want to run up to the library and get the books discussed on the show. That is why it saddened me to hear LeVar Burton announce on the Daytime Emmy’s that this would likely be the last year of Reading Rainbow due to lack of funding for PBS. I went to the Reading Rainbow site to see if they had anything up about it and couldn’t find anything, so I emailed them to find out if there is anyway to donate to help out. I’m emailing you because your awesome Squishites care so much about reading that I thought they might be interested in knowing that the show that plants the reading seed in your brain may be over soon. I’m not really sure what to do about it, but maybe someone else that reads your site might.[/readermail]

More information here:

[readermail]Thank you so much for spearheading (hee!) the campaign for books for libraries. I am a librarian assistant in an Ohio public library, and we are facing funding cuts ranging from moderate to severe. I fear not only for my job, but also for all the people for whom library materials and services could no longer be provided if we lose any more of our funding. In these tough economic times, no city or town is invulnerable to cuts in library services. Please continue to encourage folks to not only donate books to OPL and their own libraries, but to speak out and let their state and local officials know how important their (well-funded) public libraries are to them. For all of your Ohio readers, here’s a link to my library’s website (, which has a short explanation of our funding woes and an address to which they can write to express their concerns.

Thanks again, Pamie, and good luck with the book![/readermail]

And finally, here’s your warm fuzzy of the day:

[readermail]I was one of the founders of “Save Oakland Libraries.” This grassroots movement began last December when The City of Oakland declared a $2M budget deficit and decided to close all (15) branch libraries in March, ’03.

At this same time, I was laid-off from my high-tech job in December ’02, and went into my local branch library to use the internet to conduct a job search. The manager of my branch told me the City was going to shut down all branches to save money. Although I rarely use the public library, I strongly feel that all civilized cities need libraries. So, my reaction was to “go Postal.” Putting my outrage to good use, I contacted several Neighborhood Associations, two City of Oakland council members and a few friends. This lead to two subsequent meetings resulting in the forming of several committees (there is a small group of approx. (6) of us) of highly skilled and passionate volunteers. We now had the ability to organize all of Oakland and began a petition campaign, PR and media blitz, created a website overnight, marched on City Hall and attended every City Council meeting for a few months.

We made alot of noise.

From January to March we kept the pressure on, the outcome is that our pre-emptive strike on City Hall proved successful. Many cuts have been made in The Oakland budget, but all (15) branch libraries will remain open for the next (2) fiscal years. The book budget was frozen, and that is where you come in.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a librarian at The Main branch informing me of and the book donations. I visited your website and was astonished to find the generous wishes you shared with your readers about The Oakland Library System. Your readers, all lovers of books and reading, have given the citizens of Oakland a valuable gift of donated books. You made it all happen!! In addition to the HUGE “thank you” to you, please let your readers know that they have warmed the hearts and minds of those of us who fought to keep all Oakland Libraries open. This volunteer effort paid off. You have given the gift that keeps on giving!

Going forward, I want to extend to you and your readers the skills and knowledge that I have gained while conducting the fight to keep the Oakland Libraries open. I have learned how to organize an entire large City, build an infrastructure to support getting your message to City Hall, build citizen and affinity group based alliances(schools & churchs), develop a website to support ongoing communication and creatied a PR and media machine to get newspapers and TV involved. With a few key skilled individuals and many volunteers, you can succeed. Since the economy in the USA is flat, many cities will attempt to close libraries as a source to save budget money. If you have readers that find themselves in a similar situation as Oakland, please have them contact me. I want to extend to you and your readers my knowledge and advice on how to fight City Hall and win.[/readermail]

See all the Oakland donations here.

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