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Step 1: Planning the Journey

A few weeks ago, on a Friday morning, I got a phone call from my principal.  This was unusual for many reasons.  For one, the office was closed on Fridays during the summer.  For another, she was very anxious-sounding.  This is a woman who is one of the most confident people I know. 

After some preliminaries, she broke the news:  "The school flooded last night."

We had had several inches of rain fall within a few hours, and one wall of the school sits at the bottom of a slight hill.   The water had backed up against that wall until finally, it broke through and gushed out into the library, computer lab, and first and second grade classroom.  Thankfully a board meeting was in progress, so there were people on hand to jump to action, trying to grab as many books as possible, computers, and anything else they could to try to save.

The aftermath: Some books were lost, most of the shelves, one printer, half the exterior wall (and adjacent interior walls), and the tile floor in at least one classroom. 

Shortly after this disaster, I posted a plea on Facebook asking for help.  This is nothing new; I'm in a very small district (K-8, about 80 kids in building) and I've relied on my generous friends online to help supply some of my student needs for two years now.   One friend in New Jersey offered to "look around."

Today, she sent a message.  The first sentence was, "Are you sitting down?"

A friend of hers had held a book drive and had about a thousand books, and then the places she was going to donate them to fell through.  Would I want the books, if we could find a way to get them from New Jersey to Missouri?  They filled up most of a small SUV.  

I jumped at the chance.  If my school could not use them, a local library could.   Not only could we replace books that were lost, we could expand our library (which, admittedly, was not the best; lack of funding meant that my personal collection rivaled their YA section). 

The challenge, getting 1000 books across a distance of more than 1000 miles, seemed daunting at first, but within two hours we had almost half the route covered by volunteers.  Other volunteers are at points in-between, just waiting for more people to fill in the gaps between them.  The entire distance from Louisville, KY to the home destination of just outside Clinton, MO has already been covered, as well as the distance from NJ to Philadelphia, with someone at the ready in Philadelphia to take them along further as soon as the next person is found.

I am starting this blog to document not only the planning of the journey, but the trip itself and its aftermath.  I am hoping that my volunteers will provide photos of some of the amazing people and places these books encounter along the way.

1000 books.  1000 miles.  Can we do it?



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September 2010
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