Tagged in: library

500 books

From 5 to 500, Nothing Can Stop Me Now

When I started my mobile library, I never thought it would get so big so fast. With a blog, this amount of growth would be welcome. But when you have a product that takes up actual space, that kind of growth must be controlled. The first time I got books for my mobile library I bought 50 books for $5. 38 books went to my library and the other 12 books went to my personal collection. Just recently I had a sweet little girl named Anika come to our booth this past weekend, and she was so excited to get new books. In fact, she was so excited that she went home and cleared out her bookshelf of her old books and donated 50 books to us. For a while, we hadn’t gotten any donations and I had to spend my own money to purchase books from the bookstore, yard sales, and book sales around town. Now, I have too many donations. Well, let’s just say I’m starting to run out of room for current book inventory. I would like to donate them anywhere I can (I’m open to suggestions).

It’s hard to fathom what 500 books even looks like, and luckily I took a picture (see photo above). Since January 2017, I had collected 1200 books and given away 500. You would think it would easy as pie to give away free books, but I’ve run into some obstacles and naysayers. I am so grateful to have been given these books for free, so I want to continue to pay it forward. I would say 85% of the books I received are for adults and are very old books. They can sometimes be harder to give away because while there aren’t many adults who like to read there are even fewer people that have time to read. I totally understand, I never had time to read for pleasure until after I graduated college.

To give you an idea of how big my library has gotten, I started on March 11, 2017, with only 150 books. Today, only 2 months later, I have close to 2,000 books. I’m doing this all by myself. I only have two people who help sometimes (my mom and my best friend), but 80% of the works is done by me. It’s not easy doing all this work, but I started this on my own and I’ve never been one to expect help from anyone. I am always grateful for those who do help, and I will always accept help to whoever offers.

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free book

Who Wouldn’t Want a Free Book?

Apparently, there’s a lot of people and this made me sad. I had my second book meetup on April 30, 2017, at a church festival and I was in complete shock at how many people who didn’t want a free book. To make matters worse, not only did they not want a free book, they admitted that they don’t like to read. My heart sank because it was something I didn’t want to hear. I brought 300 books that day because I fully anticipated giving away most of them. At my last event, we were running low after 2 hours. At this event, we were there for 6 hours and only gave away 83 books. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still a lot of books and many of the people who took the books were parents of small children (6 and under).

I asked everyone who walked past my booth if they wanted a free book and most of them politely declined. A lot of older people said they already had too many books at home, and even when I offered to take some off their hands they still declined. I’m sorry, but you can never have too many books. Before I had proper storage, I had piles of books all over my house. I never once felt that I had too many books. What surprised me the most were the teenagers who flat out ignored me and kept walking when I asked if they wanted a free book. I was always taught to politely say “no, thank you” if I didn’t want something. I understand some kids are shy, but manners are important.

I would say 99% of the people I interact with at these events are supportive of my mobile library, but believe it or not, I’ve had a few naysayers. Now several people have asked me why I’m doing this and my answer is simple: I love books, I love free stuff, and I love giving away free books. I just want to make sure that no one ever has an excuse to not be reading. I had one woman ask me the same question, and when I told her why, she said: “Well why don’t you just donate all these books to the women’s shelter?” To which I responded that I was attempting to bring the library to the community for all the people who couldn’t go to the library for whatever reason. She never once looked at any of the books I had, and I know you can’t make everyone happy but I just couldn’t understand how someone can take something so positive and make it negative. I had another woman ask me, “Well, what do you get out this?” in a very condescending tone to which I responded, “It warms my heart to see all these young kids get excited about reading. That’s all I care about.”

I understand where this lady is coming from. With the way the world is now, no one ever does things just be nice. They always have an ulterior motive. What that woman doesn’t realize is, not everyone does things for personal gain. In fact, I have nothing to gain from this. My great grandmother Mary Lou taught me the importance of kindness and giving and she would give a stranger the shirt off her back even if it’s all she had. To tell you the truth, I quit my job in November 2016 and have been unemployed ever since. I didn’t have much saved up. I only had $400 dollars to my name and I still buy books with money I could be using for food, clothes, and necessities. I do it because I want to share my love of books with the next generation. These kids don’t know what I have sacrificed to give away these books for free. So, when I say it saddens me that these kids don’t read, it truly does hurt me. I can’t give up, it just makes what I’m doing that much more important.

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texas library association conference

Texas Library Association Conference 2017 Review

If you know me, you know that I’m a huge nerd. I have been to other conferences before because my mom collects pens and I would go to all kinds of events and grab all the free pens for her. As many of you know, I’m studying to be a librarian and I run my own mobile library. Being able to go to this convention was a dream come true, and all I did was spend a couple of hours volunteering. It was my first time at such a large convention, so there were a couple things I missed out on, but I’m quick on my feet so I quickly adapted and learned a lot of inside information while I was there.

Now because I have a mobile library, I thought I didn’t have much use for the library furniture section of the convention, but it was cool and modern. It motivated me to push harder for grants so that I can expand my library to an actual building one day. There were a lot of publishing companies. which is great for an author like me. It really opened me up to a whole world I didn’t know anything about. There were things I had never even heard of before, and I felt so excited to be in the loop and privy to what is coming next for libraries. I absolutely love having things that you can’t buy in stores. I love being able to know what’s going to be cool before people even know about it. I was on Facebook before it became popular. I used Spotify before it was even launched. I used to buy clothes at a discounted rate for people that buy stuff to fill up their store inventory because I got free passes to the expo. If it’s free I’m getting it, because the only thing I love more than getting things for free, it’s giving stuff away for free. I went to this convention for free in exchange for volunteer hours and the best part is: a lot of conventions do this.

Now here’s a secret for you, the best days to go to a convention are the first day and the last day. If you can’t afford to go to the entire convention, I would recommend going on just those days. Here’s why: The best giveaways will be on the first and last day. You could seriously miss out on some awesome goodies by not going the first day. Although I regret not going the first day, I was able to get books signed by the author because I went on Thursday which was also Teacher Day. There were still plenty of goodies, but it was clear that there had been a lot more of them. You could instantly tell which booths were giving away goodies by the lines. The ladies there were very nice whenever you asked what the line was for. At some booths, you could only take one book, but the Penguin Random House booth let me take 6 free books. I would have gotten back in line, but one must make difficult choices when you’re just one person and you’re already struggling to carry 35 pounds of books. I needed a friend to help me out, but I did well for carrying everything myself.

The final total was 97 books. Some were galleys or a mock-up, some were advanced reading copies, and some were given away because the conference was over and they hadn’t been sold yet. I took everything they would give me like bookmarks, posters, pencils, pens, etc. I had a great idea to bring my dolly with me and it made it so much easier to carry everything home. I even got some valuable information from people who have been librarians for over 20 years. I had so much fun, and it made me wish I had a job of just going to conventions. I would love to be able to travel all over the country going to conventions and seeing what the future holds.

Overall, the Texas Library Association Conference was a success. It was fun, cool, and awesome in general, but I may have a biased opinion. It felt so good to be around people with similar interests who are not competing with me to get a job so they are willing to help me and guide me. It feels good to finally know what you want to do with your life.

If you want more information, check out my library page.

mobile library

I’m Bringing Back the Mobile Library

I have always loved going to the library as a kid (and as an adult) and I realize that not everyone has time in their busy schedules to go to the library. For those of us who are frugal, the library is an excellent resource for just about anything you can think of. I personally go to the library all the time. Even more so now that I volunteer there twice a week. As much as I loved going to the library, I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could set up a library at a park and thus, my Mobile Library was born. I started collecting books in January 2017 and had my first book Meetup on March 11, 2017, at Arnold Park on the South Side of San Antonio. We gave away 60 books that day.

Fast forward to April 8, 2017, where we hosted our Meetup at the Harlandale Cultural Arts Festival. We were able to give away 273 books in 2 hours. One girl even had 11 books that she wanted to check out. All the money we raised will go towards purchasing more books for the library which a majority of the books are purchased at city libraries so you are supporting them as well. Over the course of the last month, we have given away 382 books. I have to admit that’s a pretty amazing accomplishment.

I am currently studying to be a librarian and I am in the process of applying for grants in order to expand my library. I want to extend a huge thank you to everyone has been supportive of my dream. When I get the chance to see a kid’s face when they get excited over books, it truly warms my heart. I’m also helping out college students by donating used textbooks because believe me, I know they aren’t cheap. I love my beautiful city and I want everyone to know how precious an education is in this new era.

If you would like more information, check out my library page.

quitting

3 Things I Learned After Quitting My Job

First, let me give you a little background information on my situation. I got my first job when I was 19, and I had just received my associate’s degree in Psychology. I have been told many, many times that I should have picked a degree that was more useful, but I can’t think of anything more valuable than studying how people work and why they act the way they do. I know I’m not alone in this, but I am one of those college students who changed their major at least five times. I am the kind of person who is good at lots of things, but great at nothing. Despite these many changes, I am not one to give up, leave without warning, or quit something because it was too hard.

I worked at a movie theater for four years, and I loved it. Well, I enjoyed watching 117 free movies over the course of my stay. I did not, however, love the people who would yell, scream, bully me, and I even had several people throw things at me. I felt like a robot, and I wasn’t happy. Which brings us to the first thing I learned.

1. There’s no point in being unhappy about things you can’t change, and no point being unhappy about things you can.

That’s a quote by Dan Harris. It just came to me a week before I quit. It was the last semester before I graduated college and I went to talk to my manager about working fewer hours because I wasn’t going to let a minimum wage job stop me from graduating. I spoke with them in early August about reducing my hours, and they agreed to do so. However, that is not what happened. In fact, they moved me to a different department which made me very tired, and I had no energy to do homework once I got home from school.

Again, I went to the managers to try to make it work. They agreed to help me, but ultimately that’s not what happened. They did move me back to my original position in the box office, but then they started scheduling me past my availability or keeping me longer than was necessary. My father, at the time, was beginning to get sick and I needed to take care of him. If given a choice to go back and change things, I would have quit sooner. Keep in mind that I had 3 English classes during this semester, so I would frequently have 2-3 papers plus 400 pages of reading due per week.

My dad graciously waited until after my graduation ceremony to go to the hospital because he didn’t want to miss my big moment. My dad ended up having surgery just two days later in December, and I was able to be there to take care of him because I quit my job on Thanksgiving.

2. No matter what anyone else thinks, you deserve to be happy.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to be an artist or a writer, we all deserve to be happy with what we do. That may be the downfall of my generation, but at the very least we will die happy and fulfilled. We don’t want to work the rest of lives away, and if we are going to do that, it should be something we love to do. Edgar Allen Poe has always been an inspiration to me. Without him, I wouldn’t be an English major. I would rather die poor and happy than to be rich and miserable.

My love of writing and reading and books, in general, has always made me happy. As someone who has already published a book and plans to write more, I must say: I finally feel happy. Of course, I was writing while I had a job and that’s okay too. I may have even written a few poems while at work about how awful the customers were to me. I never genuinely stopping writing, but I was missing something.

3. Life goes on, and this too shall pass.

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. Despite some people who told me I was a great writer, I couldn’t believe them. We are always our own worst critic. I’m a harsh critic so it’s hard to please even myself sometimes as you can tell by the 20 rewrites I do for a simple letter to a friend. My decision to quit my job was not easy considering there was a lot at stake, but it was by far the best decision I ever made. It led me to my current passion which is the library. I started my own mobile library as a way to gain experience and give out the best gift a child can receive: a book.