Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My New Pet Project

With a new year comes a new semester (more or less) and I've found something new to do that's going to take up the better part of my time and sanity (but it's all for a good cause).  The high school library has a shortage of shelving space.  I could invest in new shelves... but then I got looking at some of the books that are taking up all the space and the kids don't read them.  Actually, nobody reads them.  Ever.  Most people just request new titles and I buy them (hence, why I am looking for more shelf space).

In a somewhat unrelated twist, the librarian before me had begun weeding out old titles and taking them out of the system, but she didn't know what to do with all the old books.  She thought about a few things, including a book sale, but if people want to buy books, they can go get new ones from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.  So, we've got at least three huge boxes of old books in storage with no idea what to do with them (I say "at least three" - I think there are others stored elsewhere.  I haven't had time to go on an exhaustive search, but that's for tomorrow).

Here I come - bright-eyed and full of idealistic... ideas.  I haven't been able to implement very much (lack of money, lack of time, lack of people), but I did find an interesting place to take our old books.  One of my classmates in my graduate program has connections with the library at the state penitentiary and brought up Books Inside, a not-for-profit group that provides books to prison libraries.  Looking at their website, it looks like they don't really care what condition the books are in because the inmates can repair them and they're always looking for more books and things.

You can all see where this is going, can't you?

Pending district approval, all our old books are going to the prison.  On the surface, it seems like an odd place to take our stuff, but I have the feeling that most of these inmates are serious about paying their debt to society and they'll be better people when they get out.  Besides, they could probably do with some good books to pass the time while they're incarcerated (according to my classmate, the library is one of the most-used facilities in the prison).

Now - I have to finish the weeding process, de-catalog (is that even a word?) the old books, box them up and get them to the Books Inside people.  And I'll finally have room for the new stuff.  Everyone wins. :)

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