Together, we have collected about 250 000 books for redistribution to young children and families in our region. Often, people ask: Where do you get all those books? The answer is: From various sources. Books come to us from:
- schools… There are collection bins in local elementary schools where students and their families, school neighbours and staff donate gently-used children’s picture books. These books are taken to our workspaces at Rock Heights Middle School, Willway Elementary, and the Saanichton Individual Learning Centre (in School Districts No. 61, 62, and 63). The vast majority of the books we have collected come to us via schools.
- student leadership groups… Occasionally, students in middle or secondary schools, or those attending university, undertake a leadership project in the form of a book drive. Me to We, Youth-in-Action, Kiwanis Key Club, Rotary Interact, and Rotaract groups have collected hundreds of books to support our work.
- ORCA Book Publishers (http://www.orcabook.com/assets/clientpages/home.aspx)… Since 2012, we have benefitted from the generosity of this local company. ORCA Books has donated thousands of new books, which are shared by the three “1000 X 5” Projects, enabling us to include a new book in most gift bags. In addition, ORCA Books offers us a significant discount on books when we have grant money or funds from service clubs or individual donors.
- thrift stores… The project leaders and some volunteers shop for inexpensive, yet good-quality picture books on a regular basis. By shopping on days when seniors are offered discounts and using our personal donor coupons, we are able to “stretch our dollars” and maximize the numbers of books purchased.
- book credits from used books stores… Some used book stores offer book credits to their patrons, some of whom donate their credits to us—allowing us to shop for children’s books at cash value or on a cash-matching basis. When we receive a large donation of book credits, donors are offered an Income Tax Receipt.
- Discover Books (http://www.discoverbooks.com/)… This book recycling operation has blue collection bins located throughout the Capital Region. From time to time, project leaders request books from this organization to supplement those that come to us from other sources.
- our families and friends… Project volunteers are always “on the lookout” for books. Our friends and family members are aware of the ongoing need good-quality books. They donate books their children and grandchildren have outgrown and some make a point of stopping at garage sales to shop for books on our behalf.
- unanticipated sources… Every once in a while, we are surprised to come across “mystery boxes” or bags of books that appear at our workplaces. For example: Recently, eight bags of books appeared at the Saanichton Individual Learning Centre to support our work on the Peninsula. It wasn’t until we unpacked the last bag that we found a note from the I.O.D.E. (Garry Oak Chapter) that we learned the members of this group had collected the books over the course of a year. What a gift!
While it may appear that we have many sources of books (and we do), we still need to work hard to have enough books to address the many requests we receive. Whatever you can do to help sustain a steady flow of books—by encouraging your family, friends, and neighbours to recycle books for reading to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers through local elementary schools—will be effort gratefully appreciated. Thanks!