Each One, Teach One

I wish I could report that the J family spent the insanely beautiful weekend picnicking and frolicking in grassy knolls of the Hudson Valley, but alas. We were homebound and didn't stray much further from the backyard, due to the fact that Mr. J was under the 80 degree weather. So while he mustered the energy to watch the kids as they played out back, my time was spent preparing for our upcoming move (more on that later).

I began by packing up books to get rid of, mostly:

1) books that have anything to do with birthing babies . J-Jo's five-and-a-half now. The twins are almost two. Life is just starting to feel "normal" again; we don't plan to follow up with a remix.

2) books that were advance copies of novels that Mr. J's publisher and/or agent sends him that he hasn't even breathed on in seven years because he's usually working on one of his own.

3) sewing books that I bought hoping they'd inspire me to learn how. Same goes for cookbooks with recipes that include the kitchen sink amongst their ingredients.

4) kids books that bore me (I'm fine with reading to them fifteen minutes a day, but I'm sorry: if mommy's going to read it, SHE has to like it too. At least a little bit).

5) college textbooks that haven't been cracked since the day before finals, nearly fifteen years ago (Just plain embarrassing).

So, what to do with these dusty old tomes?

At first, I thought I might look into selling the books online to one of those online book resellers, but had to rethink things after learning that out of the one hundred or so books I have waiting in boxes by the back door to go, I could only get $1.55. Those used book sellers have veeery specific ideas about what they want.

After boxing the books up, I had half a mind to cart them over to the local hospital thrift store. Then I recalled how rude those ladies were to me the last time I tried to donate something. Excuse me, Miss America 1948, if I'm bringing you over $500 of clothing that is perfectly good, perfectly stylish, but just not perfect on my post-partum body (that will never, ever be the same again), please don't act like I'm trying to steal from YOU. Parting with my hot pants is painful enough.

And don't bark at me that you "can't give me a tax receipt", like I've got plans to cash it in for crack.

So after recalling the unfortunate incident, I decided that I should look into sending the books someplace where people will actually appreciate them. Here's what I found:

The Camel Book Drive brings books (literally by camel, see the picture on the left) to the children of Kenya. Many published authors are donating their books to the effort. Hat tip to Lori for telling me about it.

Housing Works, the well-known NYC thrift store and outreach organization,dedicated to improving the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. They used to have free-shipping, but will still accept donations by mail.

In China alone, more than 1,000 university libraries and 3,000 reference rooms need collections of English language teaching and research materials. Bridge to Asia seeks to rectify this situation by accepting tax-deductible donations of used books.

Adopt a Library is a great site that provides resources to promote world literacy and help encourage donations to libraries and schools in the U.S. and around the world.

Okay, I'm off to ship the boxes. There's a certain type of comfort I take knowing that they'll find a home on the other side of the world, gracing the shelves of someone who really wants them. And while I wish that I didn't have to pay for shipping, it feels so much better than taking the chance that these books will end up in a landfill somewhere.

Now, if I can only figure out what to do about the ridiculous collection of CDs. Especially the ones we haven't listened to since '93, when were so cool like that, the contents of our entire lives could fit into our backpacks.


Aly Cat 121 said...

Chile, I will throw some sh*t away in a second. Luckily I've been able to give things away that folks I know gladly take. Cuz if not, that sh*t will go in the trash (whether it still has tags on it or not). I know, I'm sooooo bad. My neighbor told me that I'ma have to be watched, cuz I will throw out "good" stuff just cuz I don't want it and don't want to take it with me. *shakin head*

Yolanda said...

*ahem* I was just listening to that Digable Planet cd yesterday and yes I am cool like dat. lol Sounds like you've found some great places to donate those books, I'll definitely have to keep them in mind. We donated most of our old books(with boxes and boxes of other stuff) to goodwill before moving, and of course lost the tax write off slip, oops. Just glad to see them going to a good cause.

Nerd Girl said...

Thanks for the info on where to send my gently loved books in the future! I recently purged my shelves by just dumping them in a box and putting the box by the elevators at work, but I like your ideas a lot more.

Ditto on the children's books having to be a good read for Mama too..

Digable Planets aren't still cool? My bad! Guess it's time to get rid of my Digital Underground too?

Mrs. J said...

No, no, no...I love Blowout Comb!

Plaits-twist-a-braids are still cool like that.

It's just that one of the members dogged a friend of mine out (yes, girl, *that* one). I hate to gossip, but it's true.

And I've heard more about Ladybug Mecca's personal life than I've ever cared to know (and *not* what you'd expect).

But maybe that came out wrong; I should've probably worded it differently. I just have a hard time thinking that they're as cool as *they* thought they were back then.

Maybe I should've picked on Guru instead.

Liz said...

I did this with a few things a year ago but I need to go through a round 2 with the books. They are everywhere!

I keep telling my husband he needs to get rid of the Onyx and Jade CDs but he is insisting they are collectors items.

Mrs. J said...

Liz - That's so funny. Maybe it's that Jade song in his head, "Don't walk a-waaay, boy..." Quietly, this husband isn't much better!

Sylvie said...

Thanks for the resources! I am also preparing for a move. I have books to get rid of and it seems so sacreligous to throw away books. I will look into these.