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.

Look who found us…

Posted in Dewey comments:

Yes, we are on to you! :-)

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR ALL THAT YOU ARE DOING! You definitely freaked me out with the sudden pile of amazon boxes showing up at my cubicle!

For nearly 2 days we’ve been like little detectives trying to figure out how these books were coming to us and how a group of people from around the country could have found out about our wishlists that had been lying dormant for 7 months!

Just to give you a little history:

We started up our library check-out system back in June 2007 and our cardholders have been steadily increasing. Our on-site preschool for low-income families regularly uses our library and I am there on Fridays for “library day” when the kids check out books. We had a little internal book drive last July and some staff asked for a wish list to order books. That’s how those wish lists came to be.

I never thought that 7 months down the road someone would discover them and start ordering! This is an absolute delight and has kept me and some staff who know about this in a state of constant smiles and giggles as the boxes keep flowing in.

If you see that I’ve added books to the wish lists, it’s not that we are greedy but that I hadn’t refreshed those lists since the library first began and we’ve had a better sense of what is needed for our readers. About 50% of our kids are under 6 years old, but we also work with kids up to 18 years and beyond (parents too!).

Needless to say we are thrilled, and so appreciative of what you are doing for us as well as all the libraries that you have been benefiting. Thank you for your good works! (I’ll be purchasing a Dewey shirt to model as soon as I get another free moment – now it’s back to “Library Day” with the kids!)

Alicia Fox
Children’s Institute

You, too, can celebrate Library Day here.

2008 Dewey Donation System Book Drive Begins!

Two libraries in need. Two ways to help. Help a little; help a lot. Either way, we’re proud to announce the launch of the 2008 Dewey Donation System Fundraiser/Book Drive.

This year we’ve teamed up with the Rockhouse Foundation to help fund a brand new library for the Negril All Ages School in Jamaica, and we’re surprising the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles — an organization that helps children who have been affected by violence in their homes or communities.

You know what can happen when the right book is placed in your hands, when a safe haven opens its doors and says, “You’re okay here.” Please help pass along that feeling. Send a book, send some money, but please send something. You’re about to change lives. I know that sounds all super-emotional and extreme, but after five years of doing these book drives, I can tell you that those words aren’t extreme enough.

This time we’ve got Dewey t-shirts (!), and once again we’ll be giving away various prizes as the fundraiser continues. Keep visiting Dewey for updates, letters, and to watch the tally grow.

So, please. Go here. And please pass the word.