Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Charitable Giving

It takes a while to get a new book into a school library. Let's say, for example, that I see a need for a certain title and decide to add it to the collection. To do this through the proper channels, I would need to secure funding, order from a district approved vendor, wait about a month for the vendor and the district to communicate about payment, wait about another month for the vendor to process the book (add bar codes, etc) and mail it out, upload the record for the book into the library's circulation software (if the system hasn't crashed and the record isn't corrupted), stamp the book, add the school's labels to the book, and only then can I put the book out for circulation.
This doesn't really sound that bad, except that securing funding can take months, and usually that comes in a lump sum. So what happens when a student says, "Miss! Did you you hear that the new volume in the ____series is coming out this week? Are you going to get it?" Or what about when I go to a bookstore for my own reasons and see that a fabulous YA writer has a new novel?
What happens is... I buy the book. I can't help it. My students NEED it. I know how it feels to wait on pins and needles for the next book in a series or by my favorite author; I do it all the time. The process for acquiring library books just doesn't allow for small purchases at random intervals. If I just by the dang book, all I have to do is stamp it, print out a bar code for it, and add it to the circulation system myself (too easy!), and VOILA! Someone is reading it immediately.
So today I added up the receipts I've kept throughout 2007. The sum total of this compulsion of mine turns out to be $749.93. Pretty steep when you think about the fact that this is not really an accurate representation of what I've purchased, (I'm not great at record-keeping).
Here's what the students were so desperate to read:
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (I am dying to read this as well)
The Bellmaker by Brian Jacques
The Pearls of Lutra by Brian Jacques
It's a Girl Thing: How to stay healthy, safe, and in charge
Sisters of Isis: Divine One by Lynne Ewing
Sons of the Dark: Night Sun by Lynne Ewing
Gilda Joyce: the Ghost Sonata by Jennifer Allison
A Girl's Life Online by Katherine Tarbox
Bec by Darren Shan
New Moon and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (this was me too)
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Grand & Humble by Brent Hartinger
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
Harry Potter 7 (well, duh)
Hit and Run by Lurlene McDaniel
The End of Forever by Lurlene McDaniel
about 10 others by Lurlene McDaniel

There's more, of course, but this is a pretty clear picture. All but 2 of these are either part of a series or are by authors who churn out amazing numbers of books with similar themes and stories (hence the addiction). I can't keep up. It's really fun to try, though.


katiesmurphy said...

can you use this info as support to apply for a grant (probably from a non-profit or charitable fund) to establish a discretionary book buying fund?

tashikitten said...

I was just reading an article called The 13 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions and I thought this might interest you, if you didn't already know about it:

"2. $250 educators' expenses. Teachers and their aides can deduct up to $250 they spent in 2007 for books and classroom supplies. If you qualify, put your deduction on line 23 of the Form 1040. You get this deduction regardless of whether you itemize."