A Letter from Alicia Fox, librarian at Children’s Institute

[This letter was in response to asking if she needed help unpacking/sorting/shelving/etc.]

Hi there!

Thank you! I will need help sorting or labeling but I’m not sure when. I’ve been obsessed with opening the boxes each day and condensing them into the bigger boxes. If I didn’t I would run out of room! I’ve been off Monday and Tuesday this week and am fearing the pile that I might face tomorrow. For a while I was looking forward to the day I wasn’t opening a cardboard box but now I’m getting a little wistful that they will soon dry up!

My plan is to catalog the books and put a book plate in each book with the first name and city, state, and country of the donor. I’ve explained to some of the older kids about the donation process and that these books are coming from people all over the world. They instantly want to look at an atlas to identify where these places are – so the donors are also providing some educational opportunities beyond the wealth of books.

I am realizing the book plates as well as the cataloging may be a big task and haven’t figured out how to organize it all yet. I think I am going to have to take over a conference room just to sort everything. When I get to the point where I know how I am going to organize things then I would love the help!

I don’t have any more pictures for an update as things have been rather hectic around here even without the boxes! Kids who requested books are excited that they were donated and are now impatient to check them out! In the last two weeks we’ve had a surge of library card applications as kids are spreading the word to their friends that we have some cool books coming in. A 7-year-old boy that signed up last week got so excited last week when he got to check out some Bionicle books that he squealed in delight. It’s so rewarding to know that these kids who don’t always have a lot of perks in life can come here and be able to read books that appeal to them. I can tell that it has meant a lot to these kids that we have taken the time to listen to their requests and that people out there are listening to them! A 9-year-old girl asked me last week what it was like to be a librarian because she had to write a paper on what she wanted to be when she grew up and she thought what I did was so cool…to be surrounded by all these great books and get to read them. That was definitely a teary-eyed moment for me! The idea that these kids value libraries enough to want to work in one some day is a real treat, and something that I think the Dewey donors have had a real part in. Until now, most of the books donated to us are used and worn and often outdated. Since we are now getting new books that kids are asking for it has really transformed our library into the place to be!

Truly, I can’t thank the two of you enough for organizing this, and for your followers who have spread the word through their blogs and websites. That we are able to share this joy with Rockhouse and the Negril school makes it even more meaningful.

As for the money raised [from Dewey T-shirt purchases], I want to check with my boss but I think the best route would be for most of the money to go into more books and perhaps some of it to be put towards cataloguing materials. If it went to our donation link on our website it goes into the general pool and we will likely never see the money funnel down to the library. There is no real budget for our library so we are always campaigning for budgetary consideration. In the non-profit world every dollar has to stretch, and we are often the last thing on the list. Through the response of your book drive, management is noticing and realizing that the library matters. It has always been rewarding working at CII, but this Dewey drive has absolutely made it all the more special. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Alicia Fox


Children’s Institute

Crying into my coffee. Sometimes that’s a good way to start the morning.

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