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November 5, 2020: Bright Lights Grow Dim

You decide to go into the recycling center on Thursdays. Your purpose now differs from previously. Previously you had a vision, one in which there was a workable space for sorting and a small stipend for yourself and maybe a few other workers. Your goal then was to distribute books of all kinds, statewide. You envisioned a literacy center being an offshoot of this project. And you could see it, Palmer in time embracing your literacy related efforts.

Prior to Covid, you thought that your vision might become a reality. But after, you began to think not. The books piled up during the pandemic, the publicity efforts were such that it became an instance of reverse logic. Everyone began bringing in books rather than taking them home. You, who supposedly were in charge, were then told that because there were so many books, that the existent books would have to be shredded and sent to the mill.

It did look for a while like the powers that be would provide a storage area, but grant funds that were originally thought to be designated for this purpose were then designated for recycling-related equipment purposes.

You also were told that VCRS is set up for dealing with recycling, not reuse materials. So it stands to reason, then, that books, being a recycling entity, would be shredded for mixed paper and sent to the mill; this complementing the premise that they are a commodity.


What to do? You considered all options, grant writing being foremost, finding a local space for the books, and upping your distribution efforts. But you dismissed these options after realizing that you, and you alone, would be taking on this task.

So, you finally decided that for now, you would act in your own self-interests. You limited yourself to one day of work, sorting. Sorting was what you most liked to do anyways. Your sorting efforts would benefit VCRS in that you would cull out the right wing and religious books, and as well, all the out-of-date books, so as to provide the shredders with work, generate some cash flow, and reduce the number of books on hand. And, additionally, you could, in being judicious in your culling efforts, make room in the limited space for more books.

You’d also take those books home for your personal library and for friends, which are the ones that have won major awards. And you’d take additional books home and see if you might sell them online.

Oddly enough, you are now happy with this arrangement. You’re having access to the books that have come in means that you get to pick and choose and ultimately have dibs on the best of the best.

Will things ever change? Not in the foreseeable future. The powers that be don’t want for you to get a stipend, nor do they want to invest any time or money into this project.

You are okay with it all because you got this project going and, in its own way, it’s still going. The going may be half-assed, but the half-assed are still going.

Next: 307. 11/6/20: Living in a Red State

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