A thank you letter from our Dewey Donation System librarian in Biloxi, Sharon.

Most thank-you letters for donated items end up sounding pretty cheesy, and I’m afraid this one probably will too. I want to share a story with you that shows just one small instance of how much difference your support has already made in our community.

A teenage girl in a school uniform came in one night this week to work on a school project. After finding what she needed, she went over to the YA (young adult) section and let out a small squeal of glee. One of the staff went over to talk to her as she was excitedly grabbing books off the shelves. The girl said she hadn’t been in the library in a long time because we hadn’t received any new books in so long. She was tired of not finding anything she wanted. We told her about the donations we had received, especially in YA books. She then asked about an incomplete series we had (by Stolarz), and was ecstatic when she found out the rest of the series were here waiting for processing. After a brief discussion about some of her favorite authors, she left with a smile on her face in anticipation of the books becoming available.

By the next day, we had rushed the books through processing, and called her to come and pick them up. Not only were we able to provide her with the books she wanted, we were also able to make a personal connection with her by showing we cared about her reading interests. We may not always be able to supply every title she wants, but we’ve let her know that we and so many other people all over the world share her passion for books.

Just as importantly, we were able to show her that even one year after Katrina, when beaches are still closed, FEMA trailers are still prolific, debris piles have yet to be cleared, and so many people still don’t have their homes replaced or repaired, life really isn’t at a standstill. The beaches will reopen, the FEMA trailers will slowly be replaced by real homes, the debris will be removed, and until then, the library will have a lot more books on the shelves—thanks to the Dewey Donation System. Small stories like this happen every day in our libraries, and when the damaged libraries reopen with your donated items on the shelves, there will be even greater impact on the people of our community.

For those with a low tolerance for the mushy, here’s where I start sounding uber-cheesy. Dewey Donation System has also had a great effect on the librarians, as well. When spirits are low we often go to the site to read your entries, and pull out the packing lists to read some of our favorite messages you’ve sent (we’re working on the individual thank-you letters, our apologies for the time delay). We never expected such a huge response, both in numbers of items donated and in the uplifting support of your messages. We just can’t tell you how wonderful you’ve been—you have given us such great joy and hope. It’s impossible to measure the impact that a good book, an eye-opening movie, or a kind act will have on its recipient. And Pamie and Glark, you guys rock! So if you’re ever passing through on I-10, stop on by, we’d love to meet you—we might even serve you some peanut butter pie.


last call for the mississippi book drive

This is the last day to donate to Dewey’s book drive for the Harrison County Library System.

I am beyond proud to report that in just over two months, we sent 1835 books, cds and DVDs and over $2700. Thanks to everybody who gave, spread the word, and then came back and gave again. You helped replace something that was missing and needed. Thanks for being a hero and a friend.

staying cool below the mason-dixon line.

A memory flashed into my head this morning as I grabbed a bottle of seltzer for the road.

[We now have bottles of seltzer in our refrigerator because stee went through a non-alcoholic phase a couple of months ago, and what has lingered is his love for bizarre bottles of juices and flavored waters. Consequently, I drove to the train station with a bottle of lime seltzer. Like I live in the past.]

Anyway, as I grabbed the bottle opener to pop the top, a memory flooded back. I was living in Jackson, and had spent the night at a friend’s house. I was probably in the sixth grade. When my friend’s older sister found out she had to drive me home on a Saturday morning, she got pissed in a way only sixteen-year-olds can be. She told me to get my shit and get in the car. Continue reading