An Update from Peter, at the Rockhouse Foundation

[readermail]It’s hard to believe that we’re about to break ground on the renovation and expansion of the Negril Library knowing that so many books, furniture and technology are already funded through the awesome efforts of Pamie and David, not to mention the generosity of their thoroughly cool Dewey donors… it was truly an amazing achievement! A special shout out to Kate Drenckham who introduced us to Dewey, or Dewey to us. She and her entire wedding party were definitely in the vanguard supporting the work of the Foundation through newly-wed and wedding guest activism.

Random acts of action are rare and special. The Foundation seems to be an exceptionally lucky beneficiary. Think of all these folks who have never even been to Jamaica who were mobilized and motivated by the random action that defines Dewey (well, not exactly RANDOM action… the action was well-conceived and incredibly effective, but ACTION, not just kindness… though kindness is really nice too).

Sometime over the next two weeks, bulldozers and the crew will begin the process of demolishing the the crumbling, decrepit portion of the library. It is a long-anticipated event for hundreds of children and community members in Negril, all of who have greatly valued the library, but longed for a modernized facility that would give them access to information, literature and connectedness that are staples of global equality. Dewey’s donors have acted globally on behalf of a local community far away and, as the teacher in our video states, “that is a tremendous, tremendous action.” We at the Rockhouse Foundation feel exactly the same way.

One love,
Peter B. Rose

[For those of you who elected to contribute automatic recurring donations, I still receive alerts when another gift heads Rockhouse’s way. Thanks for making the give that keeps on giving. — pamie]

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.

Thanks, Jessica and Heather!

[From the Dewey Blog]

Jessica and Heather (a.k.a. The Fug Girls) are helping Dewey out! We’ve got two signed copies of their new book to give to two people who donate on March 6 or 7. Sweet! We asked Heather and Jessica to write up a little somethin’ somethin’ about their latest project:

You may be familiar with our website, Go Fug Yourself, where we write blunt and barbed things about bad celebrity outfits. In our book of all-new entries, The Fug Awards, we reward the best of the worst with such honors as “The Sag Award” (given to the person who most abuses her boobs), and the “Girl PLEASE,” for the most hellaciously misguided style icon. Because, hey, everyone loves an awards show, even if it’s not a real one, and a book is much easier to bring on an airplane or to the doctor’s office, or into the bathroom — you know, all the places people’s reading mostly gets done.

Just as long as reading IS being done, and that’s the beauty of Dewey — it helps bring the magic of books to people who need it. Neither of us can imagine having grown up without a constant stream of reading material. Our favorites, like Anne of Green Gables, Harriet the Spy, the Sweet Valley High series, Charlotte’s Web and about a million others are books we re-read to this day. They helped shape who we are in ways we probably can’t even fully grasp. Can you imagine a world in which you were unclear on the concept of the good twin vs the bad twin? Neither can we. So we’re thrilled to be able to help spread the love. Here’s to a good read![/readermail]

Their book is crazy-funny. It also made me rockstar adjacent at work the other day when I brought my copy in for uber-fan Mel to see.

This year’s book drive ends March 12th. That’s really soon! So if you’re wondering why you still haven’t sent a book or a couple of books to some kids who need them, stop wondering and start clicking.

picture this.

I wonder if you’re feeling these days like I do when KCRW is doing their membership drive, and every time I turn to the station I have to listen to thirty minutes of why they need my money, and how donors keep the station alive, and without my cash there would be no NPR and it would be all of my fault that the world would soon be run by zombies who hate my uterus.

But I’m starting to understand why they are relentless during their membership drive. Thanks to you guys we’re fifty donations away from having sent one thousand books to the Children’s Institute, and we’re just a few dollars away from having sent five thousand bucks to the Negril Library.

Please don’t let the zombies win. Donate today.

[look what you did!]

See how much you make librarians happy?

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.

yay, you. (and hey, YOU.)

Thanks for the link, Whitney!

It’s Day Five of the book drive, and we’ve sent 451 books, and over $2700 to two libraries in need (not counting the Glarkware Dewey t-shirts, which will be tallied once the NoN sale is over). I’m hoping we can hit $3000 today for Rockhouse, and 525 books for CI.

I’ve been seeing Dewey’s face on many of your blogs, and I know you’ve been telling your friends and co-workers, and I just wanted to take a second to thank you again. Dewey only works with the generosity and power of other people.

…but um, a heck of a lot more than 177 people come here every day. Is it the weather keeping you from clicking? When you click a button, your hands warm up. And when you send a book to a kid who needs one? You feel so warm and happy inside.

Is it that you hate kids? Or books? You know, if you hate kids, send money to the Rockhouse Foundation. Those kids are way over there. Also, your book will help them grow up, which means they’ll stop being kids and start being… what do you call them, “people?” Is that when you recognize them as entities? Fine. So if you send a book, you’re telling a kid, “Here. You’re gonna need this. Welcome to adulthood.”

Like when I read Where the Red Fern Grows and I thought I was reading a sweet story about a boy and his hunting dogs. Then I got to the end. Bam.

Grown-upville. Continue reading