Summertime wrap-up

Loranne–resident intern–here! Some of you might have already noticed that I’ve been making a lot of changes to the website lately. I’ve reorganized our existing information, and added quite a bit of new content of my own. This is all part of the culmination of my efforts this summer, which have been–as Jill mentioned in her last update–with an eye toward making the Syracuse Little Free Libraries more self-sustaining, and requiring less human intervention. To that end, the blog will likely be updated less frequently, but the website will contain more information necessary to keep the project going.

So, what’s new on the website?

With the help of Jill and Maarten Jacobs, I have created a Collection Development Policy designed to guide LFL caretakers and donators alike in determining what books should be added to our collections. This document is a product of my work this summer, and is not intended to last, as is, forever, but rather to be edited and adapted over time and as the community served by the LFLs grows and changes. In the policy, you can read about the principles held by the Little Free Libraries, as well as the genres of books we intend to collect. You can read the long version of that policy in PDF form here.

I also made a corresponding donation chart. It contains a shorter version of the breakdown of genres put forth in the Collection Development Policy, and can have many uses. It can be printed as a handout for individuals who would like to donate books, or used as part of a flier for organizations hosting book drives to benefit the LFLs.  If you’d like to read the chart (or the short version), you can do so here.

We now have an all-new FAQ section, as well, and our contact information has been updated to reflect organizational changes.

What else is new?

During the course of my internship (and through our first book drive earlier this spring), it became clear that we weren’t really set up to handle a continual influx of large quantities of books. So rather than processing donations on an ongoing basis, we’ve determined that there will be a book drive every spring, supplemented by using monetary donations to purchase more books in the fall. Since the iSchool is maintaining the account for monetary donations, they will handle this purchasing phase, with input from the LFL caretakers. We will continue to accept monetary donations at any time.

What if I want to donate books before the spring book drive?

No problem! If you have a small number of books you’d like to donate, we encourage you to go ahead and choose one of our locations, and put them in the Little Free Library of your choice directly.

If you have a larger number of books you’d like to donate, but don’t want to hang onto them until the spring, feel free to contact Maarten Jacobs (mjacob01@syr.edu) with the Near Westside Initiative. He will be happy to help you get your books to the LFLs.

Please see our new and improved donation chart for a breakdown of the types of books we’d like to receive.

A new look

As mentioned in Jill’s post, I’ve been working on a stamp design to replace the book plates you may have gotten used to seeing. In the last week, I have also processed another 2,000 books (1,913, to be exact) while testing out my stamp design. The results were great (as you can see on the left)! The book plates/stickers were excellent for starting out, but ultimately very time consuming when it came time to work through the hundreds of books we received through our book drive this spring. With the new self-inking stamp in hand, my average speed was about 250 books per hour! The stamp isn’t perfect–I ran into some trouble when working with children’s books, which tend to have pictures everywhere, so there’s no good place to stamp in the first place, and also have waxy or plastic pages (see example at right). However, many of the children’s books were already left unmarked, as the book plates were to large for them.

In case you’re interested in making stamps of your own, I heartily recommend the nice folks at Central Marking. They’re located right here in town, and were very helpful and communicative when I had questions or problems with my stamp design.

At the end of it all, here’s an idea of all the books I got through this summer, with the help of some of my colleagues:
Those boxes are piled about four across, three deep, and five high, on average. That’s approximately 60 boxes of books!

 

 

Moving forward

As of right now, we’re going to wait a little while to see how the current Little Free Libraries take root in their communities before deciding whether or not to install more in the Near Westside area. However, that doesn’t mean that others can’t build LFLs of their own around Syracuse and add them to our existing network! If that’s something you’re interested in doing, I suggest you check out our FAQ page.

This October, I will be putting my own plans to the test, and doing our first round of fall purchasing. I’ll be sure to write again during that time, so you all can hear about how that works out.

I am reluctant to say goodbye to my internship with the Little Free Libraries. It’s been a fascinating, humbling project that has taught me much, and I’m sad to see it go. However, I’m confident I’m leaving it in capable hands, and I look forward to watching it grow from a different perspective.

Before I sign off, I must take a moment to thank all of you–all our partners and friends and team members, who laid the groundwork and got this project on its feet in the first place. Thanks for being so patient, and answering all of my nitpicking questions! I also want to thank Jill Hurst-Wahl and Maarten Jacobs in particular. They have been instrumental in helping me think through my ideas, pushing me to keep going, especially through the difficult bits. I could not have accomplished any of this without you.

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