[Author’s Note: I’ve corrected the quotation. It is, of course, from A Tale of Two Cities]
FARMINGTON – Dickens would have been justified in feeling pleased with himself for beginning A Tale of Two Cities with what has long been one of literature’s most justly famous lines, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Good stuff. After all, approaching difficulties as opportunities is something to which we should all aspire.
I have been working with my literacy partners in our Mt. Blue school district for 26 years now to help promote the love of reading in our community’s children. I consider that outreach the most important thing I do at the bookstore. I believe that an engagement with reading is a source of enrichment whose branches and tributaries reach every facet of experience.
In terms of funding it has been the worst of times for our school libraries given shrinking book allocations and early budget freezes. It has been particularly true this year, as no budget money has been available for School librarians to bring in the great new titles, nor the next book in a popular series that kids are hungry for. For all the high quality, low budget creativity on display in our district libraries even they cannot conjure new books from out of thin air.
With that in mind, along with Dickens’ words, I have tried to make this the best of times by community outreach and fundraising to keep the flow of books coming into the school libraries. First off, we have been running a Blind Date With A Book Program, wrapping advanced reading copies with a little description of what’s inside and asking that anyone who takes one put a cash donation in our money jar to benefit the Mt. Blue School Libraries. We raised more than $700 with this program which we made available to the librarians in this time of need. Thanks to everyone in the community who participated! The program is still going strong.
The second thing I worked on was a big upgrade to our Mt. Blue School Libraries Wish List program. It has many new features and will allow community members to purchase books selected by our School librarians which they need and do not have. All purchases further support the library in that DDG will be donating 20 percent of all Wish List proceeds towards the library as well. The Wish List Center can be found at The Mt. Blue School Libraries Wish List Center.
Stop by and have a look or stop by the store to find out more!