“A library without books is a word without dreams.” A rallying cry I can get behind. And I totally agree with my dear friend Katherine who says “children deserve the chance to dream.”
She is of course right. Her passion for this undeniable truth is what prompted me to write this blog post/interview. I wanted to spread her message. Her project. It’s already surpassed her hopes, but I’d love to see it grow even more. Sadly we live far from each other so this interview was done via email, but it’s all good. The message is what’s important. So here’s my (very basic) questions and her answers (not so basic).
Q1. So tell me about the project your working on.
K. The project I’m working on is called #Booksforbryson. Since I’m new to the area, I took copies of all of my age appropriate novels to local municipal and school libraries in the surrounding counties. Each library I saw was beautiful and well stocked with lovingly tended books. Bryson’s however was much smaller. When I first contacted them about donating a copy, they told me they had no librarian to speak to because they didn’t have enough of a library to justify one. I brought a copy of Changeling, my YA Urban Fantasy novel to them, they were very grateful and explained that their library was run on donation only.
Q2. How did you find out about the project?
K. Family friends live in this small town where there is only the one school serving grades K-12. Many children from surrounding areas attend school there as well for a variety of reasons, so even though the town is small the school population is larger than would be otherwise. I spoke to the children who attended this school and I was told how there were never any books to read, that the selection was small and the books were all old. I was shown a photo of this library with only two bookcases. (the feature image on this post is the library. A sad picture indeed)
Q3. 5. Why do you think it is so important? How does it relate to you?
K. I went to a small school growing up, but our library was full to the brim with a wide variety of books. I grew up exploring the words of Margaret Mitchell, Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, Jane Austen and more. These books gave me a larger view of the world, sparked ideas and creativity and a desire to do something meaningful with my life. They made me who I am. So the thought of this small library with no books was heartbreaking and I decided to do something about it.
Q4. What kind of success did you have in taking on the project?
K. I put out a call on my author page on facebook and to my publishing house (CHBB, Inc) and my PR team with Red Coat PR. Many indie authors have novels that will never see the inside of a library and I knew they would appreciate the chance to reach new readers. Knowing Facebook has problems with range, I asked several bloggers to put out information .
I was not expecting this response. I thought I’d get ten, maybe twenty books for their library. What happened instead blew me away. Groups of authors attending events at UtopYA, RT and Claddagh 16 I am involved with spread the word, their readers picked it up. Literary Agents, small press publishers, indie and traditional authors all took the call and spread the word. Within hours, I was receiving messages from people all over the world. The sight of this small library and the thought of children without access to the rich world of fiction resonated with the book community and support has been pouring in ever since.
When you drive into Bryson, there is a sign that reads “Welcome to Bryson, where everyone and everything matters.” And it’s true, everyone, from the smallest child to the oldest adult have voices that matter. I am so humbled by the opportunity to serve this community, and by the overwhelming generosity of the book community.
I’d like to ask your readers to think of the book that means the most to them, the book that touched their lives and set a fire in their hearts. Now imagine who they would be without that book. These children are in need of that spark. Books mean everything.
Here’s her short bio if you are interested in the woman who is doing this incredible thing.
I’m a Young Adult author that recently moved to Texas from Alaska upon the retirement of my spouse from the Army. We have six children, ranging in ages from 14 to 6 and in my “spare” time I am a nutrition coach for an athletic team and have a day job in the medical community. I’m an avid crafter, have a severe addiction to the BBC, can cuss fluently in three languages and am an avid deadline dodger.
And if you are interested in helping her cause, then you can look her up at https://www.facebook.com/authorkrwilburn