Leaving aside the matter raised in the last column—whether June is going to be a Care Bears sort of month or a Strawberry Shortcake sort (someone has chimed in with a vote for the Puffalumps)—it is certainly a month when people who have ignored us all year suddenly remember we’re here and want to donate books. “I hope it’s not too late!” they cry, and hurry to the Newberry website for instructions.
Now, naturally, the website cannot answer every question you may have. But there is a phone number listed for people who desire further information. I am the person who–after cursing the immortal soul of Alexander Graham Bell whenever that phone rings–picks up the receiver and says, in what I hope is a sweet and inviting voice, “Book Fair!”
Some of the questions have come up several times, so I thought I would answer them here, just to save YOU the trouble of calling me.
If I bring books in, do I need to bring an itemized list for tax purposes? There are two answers to this. The strict truth is that that is between you and your tax form: if you feel comfortable only with an itemized list, make an itemized list. At our end, though, a mere count of hardcovers and paperbacks, plus a note of anything you think is special, is all you really need. Some people, after all, just write “books” on the receipt form. (Which answers my question about whether there is such a thing as an unitemized list.)
Do you pick up? Again, the official answer is yes. The unofficial behind-my-hand answer is that we have three pick-up volunteers and I currently have seven pick-up names and addresses for each of them (I haven’t told them this yet: I know they like surprises.) It’ll be quicker if you bring them in yourself than if you wait for me.
If I bring the books in, will there be someone to help me unload? If you come between 8 and 4, almost certainly. If I am temporarily away from the Book Fair playroom, someone will find me, or another unloader with almost as much personal charm.
Should I pack the books in something? If you have more than five books, yes.
How far are you willing to drive to pick up books? I do not drive, collard croquette: it’s a conspiracy the state and I have cooked up to cut the profits of auto body shops. It depends on the number of books, the individual volunteer’s sense of adventure, and the heat. (Most people feel their sense of adventure deteriorate when we reach 95 degrees.)
Will you come out and tell me whether you want my books? No. Either be brave and give us your books, or drop them off under cover of darkness so we don’t see you. You can turn away from the security camera as you unload (Honest: I have never thrown a book back in a donor’s face yet. That story you’ve heard involved a customer.)
Have you read that website FAQ section? This guy is hilarious. Thanks for the tip; I’ll look it up. When the temperature hits 97 and someone brings me a carload of books, I can use a laugh.