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January 25, 2020: Our Books, Ourselves

It’s probably fortuitous that the Bright Lights Book Project started out in the dead of winter. It’s a good time to be indoors, for sure. I will, in a few months’ time be chaffing at the bit to be outside, in the better weather. Right now, better is 20˚ F and windless.

I took Raudi and Tyra (our Icelandic horses) for a morning walk around our residential loop this morning. They seemed to be invigorated by the sub-zero temperatures. I was not. They raced around, off lead, up people’s driveways, leaving me wonder if they’d return. They did.

Alys getting more boxes

I’ll resume riding when the temperatures are again in the double digits.

I took Pete with me to the recycling center this morning. There, we were met by several volunteers, one being Bill Schmidtkunz who has been in on this project since its inception several months ago. Other volunteers included Tony and Martha, who gave Pete an assist in the sorting and distribution area, and Lora who gave me an assist in the bookstore. Sue Benz appeared later and also assisted in the bookstore and sorting.

Pete unloaded the bins in our truck. These were originally the property of the Mat-Su College Library. I didn’t have a chance to go through them, but rumor has it that the mix contains a lot of poetry and classics.

Pete also loaded boxes of books into our truck. On Monday we’ll be taking these, children’s books, to The Mouse Trap Daycare Center, Providence Hospital, The Anchorage Youth Hostel, and Roots Hair Salon.

Director Steve Brown spent his time painting the bookstore hall wall. He spent a lot of time on it – it is an abstract, worthy of being in any museum. I named it Storm in Vienna.

Volunteer Coordinator Carole Henry made sure that we who were working in the bookstore had enough boxes on hand early on, and later, that we didn’t have too many.

Me, I sorted already sorted books into categories. Admittedly, this is not my favorite task. I most enjoy doing the big sort – I love climbing into the chest high boxes and locating the gems, those books that I know will be appreciated by other readers. I also get a strong sense of self-satisfaction in separating out that which isn’t ever going to be of interest to anyone, for example, old tatted computer manuals that have had the back covers torn off.

I do agonize some when I do the big sorting. For instance, today I sent a tattered copy of the Last of the Mohegans on to the shredders. For some odd reason, it had made it to our house. I asked Pete if he was going to read it, and he said no. And he asked me if I was going to read it, and I said no. I suspect that soon, a less worn copy will materialize.

It does seem to me that now the entire organizational process has a certain logic to it, which is one that is less time consuming and more efficient than previously. Also, volunteers are now materializing out of the woodwork. This is all very important because ,as Pete said, this is a high-volume endeavor.

Pete is so right. We are dealing with hundreds of books now, on a near daily basis. This is not a one, two, or three-person job. Rather, it is a several person job. And those who are stepping up to the plate and giving of their time are book lovers.

The book load will be less high volume when, finally, there are no more Gaylords in the warehouse. We are starting to put a dent in the supply. My goal is to have all the big boxes emptied by June 1.

Next: 26. 1/26/20: Tyra and January 2020 Agility

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