Saturday, December 10, 2011

Austin SCBWI Outreach Benefits Bastrop Community and Public Libraries

It’s been one month since we kicked off the Austin SCBWI Outreach effort, an effort to help replenish the books that the families and the libraries lost in the fires that ravaged the Bastrop community. Today, representing the Austin SCBWI chapter, my husband and I delivered over 1,000 books donated by children’s authors and illustrators to the Bastrop Public Library. It was joyful and humbling being able to play Santa Claus for a day, and I hope through these pictures you feel like you were there with me.

Richard West and I unloading books at the library
Sue Lane McCulley, president of the Bastrop Friends of the Library, was there to greet me with several other friendly committee members (Janet West, Vice President Fundraising, and Richard West, Member At-Large). Together, we unloaded our jam-packed van with books of every genre. I truly felt euphoric as I handed over a check to Sue for $285.00, the additional money donated by you through our chapter’s website. The staff of the Bastrop Public Library was busy setting the stage for tomorrow’s (December 10th) annual Open House from 10am – 4pm. Families will partake in sweets, treats (think gingerbread houses, yum!) and each child will go home with two books, compliments of the Friends of the Library (and supported by our outreach).

Janet West, Sue Lane McCulley, Richard West, Sheilah Kosco and Me
Sheilah Kosco, Assistant Director of the Bastrop Public Library, was ecstatic watching the books pile into her stock room because their library lost over 10,000 titles in the Bastrop fires. Even though the library didn’t burn to the ground, many of their books perished as they were checked out to residents in the community who lost their homes. Sheilah told me that the Austin SCBWI Outreach effort is going to make a huge difference in in helping them to replenish those lost titles in not only the Bastrop Public Library but Smithville too. Both libraries were deeply affected by the tragedy. 

There aren’t enough words to express the gratitude I received on your behalf from the Bastrop Public Library and the Bastrop Friends of the Library but one thing is for sure – books will be dancing into the hearts of kids tomorrow and for years to come – all because of you! 

A deep, ernest, heart-of-Texas thank you to the schools, SCBWI chapters, and individuals who donated books and funds to this important outreach. From coast to coast, the SCBWI Kid-lit community has banded together to help a wild fire ravaged community heal through the power of literature for children. And we, here in Austin, are honored to have played an organizational role in the healing process. 

Happy Holidays! 

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