Boxes, Books, and Bruises–Oh, My!
By Amy Franks, Education Partnerships Manager
How does that old army recruiting commercial go? We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day. Well, by 9 a.m. last Friday, Book Harvest staff and volunteers had assisted teachers, media coordinators, and our youth-serving community partners in selecting, carrying, pushing, pulling, counting, and hauling over 3200 books!
Experiencing my first Books to Go event fully hands-on was incredible. I witnessed the anticipation as people stood outside, eager for us to open the doors at 7 a.m., as well as the exclamations of delight and even little whoops of victory as favorite titles and rare finds were discovered. Beyond the anticipation, what I experienced continually throughout the 12 hours was gratitude. Everyone who came to partake in this culling of books to then pass on to the youth they serve expressed appreciation for what we do through Books to Go; however, it was not a one-way street, this gratitude. I kept thinking how fortunate I am, how grateful I am to work where I am allowed and expected to give away books, how much I appreciate the enthusiasm I saw for getting the books into the hands of our youth, and how thankful I am to the many book donors whose generosity makes it possible.
Friday was the longest workday I’ve had in quite some time, and it was worth every minute of the crawling under tables, climbing onto shelves, and acquiring my first set of on-the-job warrior marks (read that bruises). Through it all, there was much excited talk and sharing among participants about how they plan for and execute the kids’ selection of books once they get them back to their schools, community centers, and after-school programs. It was inspiring to see their investment and the thought that went into the process of selecting just-right books that the youth they serve would be interested in and happy to own. As I take the reins of Books to Go, I join Friday’s participants in eagerly anticipating the next event in August, with dreams of topping the 7,092 books selected by the day’s end. If you will be here among that crowd, I will see you then. You can’t miss me. I’ll be the one wearing knee pads!