Updates and Library Talk

Hi. This isn’t going to be the update of my book tour, as I’m right smack dab in the middle of it, so I’m without my normal computer (as evidenced by the fact that I accidentally deleted some pages of my site trying to make this entry. web2ftp.com now only has their interface in German or something. I was way too cocky about my FTP skillz, thinking I could figure out “Download” in a foreign language, and ended up hitting “delete.” I’m the cOoLeSt. (See Allison? I still screw up, too. The web is not The Matrix.)

Also my pictures from the tour so far are currently on my digital camera, which died somewhere between Austin and Houston. The main button that allows you to control the camera’s computer has stopped working, and now I have a fancy box that takes no photos. (Leaving the “Fancy box” joke alone for now…)

I will say that I’m having a fantastic time seeing everybody, meeting up with friends old and new, searching airports for copies of my book, getting good news from publishers about book sales, spending time seeing cities I love. So there are no complaints. Not even my complete exhaustion can deter me from this good time.

Since I’m seeing the librarians in a few hours, I figured I’d take this time to share a few updates and letters and articles concerning the Oakland Public Library.

The East Bay Express, looking for an angle, obviously, notes that even though we all did a fine thing sending books to Oakland, we apparently sent them to the wrong places. I’m not buying this logic at all, and I guess I’m going to have to talk about it tonight. But here’s the thing: if these libraries hadn’t posted wish lists that I found on Amazon, there wouldn’t have been ANY books sent to Oakland from us, right? It was because I found those Amazon wishlists that I even wrote the entry. And once other branches added wishlists, I linked to those. And I’ve also always added a link to the Oakland help page, in addition to Cody’s books, which offers free shipping and doesn’t specify a branch. One of the wish lists has always been for the main branch, which told us that they ship the books to whatever branch needs them the most. Even though the two branches happen to be in wealthy districts, did that mean they needed the books less? If they’re holding onto them, they must have needed the books, too. Wouldn’t it have been worse for me to just assume they didn’t need help because someone rich should have helped? Wasn’t that the problem to begin with? Maybe the article isn’t criticizing me as much as I think it is. Maybe it’s criticizing the people of Oakland for letting some girl in Los Angeles try to help them and end up getting it all wrong because she’s not from the city. But it seems like I couldn’t possibly have done anything differently to avoid this issue, other than Johnny Appleseeding these books all over the city myself.

A letter from Helen gives us this interesting fact:

[readermail]Since you are such a big fan of libraries I thought you might enjoy the library facts that were on the July 24th page of my NY Public Library page a day calendar.

“Libraries in the US issue more cards than VISA, have more children enrolled in summer programs than Little League, and have more visitors each week than all museums and zoos combined.”

That’s amazing! Amazing enough that it actually got me to finally write that letter to the Governor of PA to beg him not to slash our library budget by 50%.[/readermail]

We’ve also got some new cool kids. I messed up my donor list, but will add the Amazon links myself when I’m back home next week. For now, from an anonymous donor:

[readermail]The Children’s Room at OPL will be receiving Curious George Rides a Bike and Curious George Goes to the Hospital by H.A. Meyer because I loved them as a child and the Curious George books instilled simian-topic book phobia in my mother that manifests itself to this day (“No, not the monkey book, again, kids. Anything but that damn monkey!!”). I also gave Charlotte’s Web because I don’t want to think of a world where children lose out on the possibility of meeting Charlotte and Wilbur because the book isn’t available at their local library.[/readermail]

Is Curious George Goes to the Hospital the one where Curious George takes all that ether and goes tripping around? Or was that the dentist? I had the 45 of that one, and the music when George was trippin’ monkey balls was crazy. It scared me.

And sweet Wendy writes:

[readermail]Oh, and I was right about the My Two Uncles book disappearing from the shelves all the time. Dana from the Oakland library requested 5 more copies. I will send them! Kids need to know about the gays![/readermail]

We hit 550 books!

Cool kid Heather, who was mentioned in the last entry, writes to say what happens when you send books to Oakland:

[readermail]Wow, I never thought donating books to a library, even a cause I really want to support, would make me so happy. I figured, I’d send the books, they’d be happy, I would never hear another word. But yesterday in the mail i get this letter:

“Thank you so much for your purchase of Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat for the Brookfield Branch Library. …Both of these titles are among my very favorite children’s books, ones that I use often during story times and class visits and big favorites of the children here at Brookfield. Unfortunately, our copies were lost. Your donation fills a big hole in the collection and is especially appreciated during these hard economic times. To show our gratitude, a bookplate thanking you for your donation will be placed in each book you purchased for us. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

How cool is that? A fricking bookplate in the books. Wow, and now those kids can listen to them at story time. That just makes me want to go buy every book on their wish list right now. Of course, I have no job now, so I can’t afford it, but I will buy more when I have money. What a great cause. I just wanted to share what a good idea I think your book donation thing is and how thankful the librarians are for the books. Yay, keep up the good work.[/readermail]

So this library-centric entry is mostly me checking in, reminding you that your local libraries, in addition to the Oakland Public Library, still need your attention. Thanks to those of you who responded to Bitch Magazine’s call for help in the last entry. We’re becoming quite the pack of activist feminist cool kids, and I couldn’t be prouder.

I love the new Jane’s Addiction album. It’s like they never left us. It’s like we broke up for a little while, did some damaging things to our bodies, dated a few mistakes, had sex with Carmen Electra and then got back together forever.

So, checking in. All is well. Tour going good. Please come see me if you’re in the area. (“You’re in!” Still sounds like “urine!” I’m seven!)

Currently Reading

Special, a book Tara left for me to read. I tried reading Sandra Tsing Loh’s Depth Takes a Holiday, but got frustrated when she kept reusing jokes.

Please donate a book to Oakland

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