Monday, July 19, 2010

Air lift to LA about to take off!!! Now there's a nice metaphor.....

Just wanted to update you all about the project to send books to inner city LA.

It’s going AMAZINGLY great! I’m getting books from all over the country, from individual writers and from publishers. They are stacking up high high high! We’re now working on:

a) Getting a carrier to take the books and ship them for us gratis –anyone who thinks they can call up a company like Fedex or Canpar and twist a few arms, please do this, I can’t do it all meself!!!

b) Pushing the media machine into motion. The more publicity we get on both sides of the border, the more successful this gig will be in helping school libraries everywhere. So if you want to help and have a moment, it would be great if you:

1. Join the facebook group Air Lift to LA, and spread the word about it so we get more members. If Lady Gaga can get ten million facebook fans, don’t you think we should be able to get at least that many people who support school libraries????? And if we got a big number on the group membership, doncha think that might encourage politicians to maybe look at the issue of funding school libraries? No grass roots support, no action, that’s the reality.

2. If you would like to send books, there is still time!!!!! We’re looking at AUG 15 as the cut off date for books to be able to ship from Toronto and still get to Compton for their first day of school and the firestorm of US publicity we are hoping to generate. So don’t skip it because you think you missed the deadline – a lot of people are emailing me with “is it too late?” and the resounding answer is NO!!!!!! So send away.

I’m going to actually start shipping books in smaller quantities starting now, no reason to leave a massive shipping job for mid August, and if they go in smaller bunches, many will arrive long before the Aug. 30 first day of school so we won’t be blown out of the water by an unforeseen border stoppage or something stupid. And even after Aug 15, if you have books, well, it’s not like they won’t be welcome at the schools in LA after that. We can send a Thanksgiving topper-upper, right?

3. Email everyone you know – your publishers, your friends, your rellys, and tell them about the problem with school libraries and what we all are doing to help it. The publicity is good for ALL OF US!!! That’s the beauty part: we get to be good AND mercenarily self-serving all at once!!!! So tell everyone about how Canadian authors are banding together to help kids, and how libraries are struggling, and if we make enough noise, we will catch the collective ear of the media and they will feature us on the CBC and The Agenda etc. and all of a sudden we will be news. Shelagh Rogers, hello!!!! Why hi, Eleanor Wachtel, thanks for asking about kids’ books and why it’s so important kids actually have access to them. Jian Ghomeshi, kids writers and libraries are culture too! Talk to us!

4. Remember, there’s power in numbers. It doesn’t take much to make a real difference if we each do our five minutes of talking it up. I know not everybody has as big a mouth as I do :) but even people who are sensitive and thoughtful LOL have contacts. Let’s use them!

5. I’m going to start tweeting and facebooking the list of books received and author's names as I start packing them up; if you are on Twitter and are not my tweep, follow me so when I do this I will tweet your twittername when I tweet your book name. Which also makes me think we need to compile a twitter list of canscaip members too like the blog roll. I’ll start:

1 comment:

  1. This comment came in via a writer's listserve group and author Val Coulman has given me permission to repost it here. I'm a little slow off the mark in doing so, but the message is not time-sensitive, alas.

    "I just returned from a 4-day school visit in my state and am both delighted and saddened by the conditions there. As there has been a number of posts about schools & librarians and their roles I thought I'd offer a quick summary of my trip.

    Let me start by saying this particular school and staff were a dream to work with. The principal was very excited because they'd had a difficult year and were looking to this visit as a way to end the school year on a high note (school ends this Friday here). Several things changed at the last minute but they were quick to recognize the limitations they were imposing and did everything they could to keep things working smoothly.

    But here's the challenge:

    Schools in the US are facing budget cuts AGAIN which makes an author/illustrator visit feel like even more of a luxury than it has ever been. With this school I did a marathon session of 2-45 minute sessions with 50 students each, covering (although not well, imo, because of the time
    constraints) writing and art techniques. Each student wrote a short story and designed/painted a book cover for their story. I was able to get supplies for the entire school of 450 students for under $300.00 and was almost moved to tears by how excited the teachers were over the "nice" paper and paints - it was inexpensive student grade 140 lb watercolor paper and 60 Prang paint sets that we shared from class to class. As one teacher said "We only get white construction paper and it's not even the good stuff."

    This group of incredibly resourceful and resilient teachers and staff are carrying on the best they can. But there were still moments when they were near breaking point. Next year, this school will be taking in even more students as a rural school is being closed for monetary reasons. They will have fewer resources than ever. Staff is being shuffled around the district and jobs are, once again, on the line. And almost every school across this state is in this situation."


Because: Science!