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A couple of months ago I posted a request for information about book drives. 
Thank you to everyone who responded.  I was able to use your ideas to help 
me plan my book drive.  Several people requested a HIT, so I am posting one 
below.  I have completed my book drive, and I thought you might be 
interested in knowing what I did and how it went.  This is a little long, 
but I thought that those of you who would like to have a book drive could 
benefit from my experience.

I began my book drive on November 13 and it ran through December 1.  This 
was probably too long.  I originally planned to do 2 weeks, but since 
Thanksgiving week was in the middle, I added another week.  I think 1 to 1 
and half weeks would be sufficient.

I asked students, parents (via newsletter) and teachers to donate new or 
used books in good condition that were appropriate for children ages 12 - 
18. (The books were for a home for abused and neglected children in this age 
range.)  I accepted paperback and hardback, fiction and nonfiction, and also 
encouraged reference materials.  I encouraged teachers to use book order 
forms to help get books for the drive.  I'm not sure if any of them did this 
or not.

I also sent letters to the managers of local businesses that sell books.  I 
followed up these letters a week later with a phone call to the managers.  I 
had a disappointing response from businesses.  Most of the managers had not 
even read the letter and most did not donate.  The large national chains did 
not donate.  The exception to this was that I received donations from both 
of the Walgreens stores in town.  However, my husband manages one of the 
Walgreens stores - so I had an "in" with them.  I also received a small 
donation from a local stationery store that also has a book department.

As disappointing as the business response was, the response from my 
students, staff and parents was phenominal!  My goal was to collect 500-600 
books for the home.  We collected 1,830 books!  Of these books, 180 were for 
children younger than those at the home (Sesame Street, etc.).  I donated 
those 180 books to the local refuge for battered adults and they were 
pleased to receive them.  So, we were able to donate 1,650 books to the home 
for neglected and abused children!  Most of the books I received were used, 
but many new books were also donated.  I only received a few books, less 
than 10, that I had to decline because the condition was too poor.  I also 
received some cash donations and was able to use the money to buy more new 
books.  I especially bought books that completed popular sets that had some, 
but not all books in the series donated - ie. Harry Potter, Lord of the 
Rings, Lemony Snicket, Chronicles of Narnia and Cirque du Freak.  I was glad 
to be able to provide complete sets of these books to the home.

I took my library aids with me to the home to deliver the books and we had a 
great time.  Both the local newspaper and the local TV station covered the 
story.  The staff and residents at the home were thrilled to recieve the 
books.  They are expanding their library from a current collection of about 
200 books, so this was a big help to them.

I had a contest between homeroom classes .  The three classes that donated 
the most books received a party during homeroom (which is an AR class at my 
school).  Also, my school has a reward point program in which the 3 grade 
levels compete against each other to earn points for good 
behavior/accomplishments.  They lose points for suspensions.  So, we gave 
reward points for each book donated by the students for this program.  I had 
my library aids collect the books from the classrooms each morning.  With 
all 15 aids working, they only missed about 10 minutes of their class each 

I was very pleased with the outcome of my book drive.  I think that my 
students and teachers pretty much cleaned out their own collections to 
donate to this drive, so I don't think it would be as successful if I did it 
each year.  I might try doing it every three years, so I have a new set of 
students for each drive.

Below are the hits that I recieved.  I appreciate these responses.  They 
were very helpful to me in planning my own drive.

Our National Junior Honor Society did this once.  We had kids give books and 
money, and also made Scholastic book order forms available.  We got LOTS of 
books that way.  We had kids who liked having many choices, and picked up 
lots of bonus points when they ordered off Tab, Teen Read, etc.

The kids actually delivered and read books to younger elementary studetns. 
It was great!


Be clear about stressing that if books are missing pages or are in bad 
condition that these are not acceptable to give away as a gift to someone 
else.  I would also be sure to stress exactly what you are taking...I'd 
print something that says you aren't taking old encyclopedia sets or 
periodicals unless you're willing to cull through those kinds of items.

You might even add to what you get by having a penny drive or something calling it "be thankful for books" and you could add a jar for 
loose change and have it collect by grade or classroom and then announce the 
winner.  Also it never hurts to go out to Sam's club or Border's or some 
other outside agency and tell them what you're doing and see if they would 
donate something.  It can't hurt to ask and then you could publicize what 
you're doing in the local newspaper, etc.


*an idea maybe to have certain grade levels donate from a particular genre 
or author

*always a new book, i dont know what it is but a used item doesnt seem as 

*barnes and noble may do a voucher/coupon/ book fair type fundraiser deal 
students purchase a book the the proceeds can be used to purchase more books

Doris Black

Sierra Middle School Librarian

Roswell, NM

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