Where Are Ya?

So you’ve called and left a message, or called and spoken to someone, and you are waiting for a volunteer to pick up your books. And you are waiting. And waiting. And waiting. It may occur to you to wonder why we aren’t there yet. Here are some of the most common reasons:

1. Our volunteer called and couldn’t get hold of you: maybe your answering machine is on the blink. Or maybe you don’t have a machine. Or the phone number got written down incorrectly, either by me or by the volunteer. Solution: Call again.

2. You called the wrong person. Usually, if you’re talking to the wrong person, that person will call me or email me and let me know you called. But sometimes you get someone who fully intends to let me know you called, but can’t get to it right away (right away being, say, in the first week or so.) Solution: call at 1-312-255-3501 or email crawfordd@newberry.org

3. Your address presents special challenges. Munster, Indiana? Springfield? Springfield, Missouri? Chances are pretty good I said I’d try, and I may still be trying. Eventually I will call and tell you I can’t find a volunteer (eventually being, say, three months or so; hope springs eternal.) Solution: find someone who’s driving to Chicago or find someplace closer to home. (There are people who mail me their donations, but if it’s more than, oh, fifty books this is a real investment of time and funds.)

4. I’m too shy. I HATE to ask a volunteer to drive thirteen miles to pick up two bags of books and then drive another eleven to bring them to the Library. I lose more pick-up volunteers that way. Yes, I KNOW my volunteers are hard-working, optimistic souls who are ready for anything. Their spouses keep telling me so. Solution: I know, I know, I know. I have to gird up my loins and make these assignments with a smile.

5. We’re swamped. There are times of the year when each pick-up volunteer may have three to four pick-ups lined up, PLUS the ridiculous insistence on living their own lives. (I had one volunteer tell me she couldn’t make a pick-up because she was going to be in Australia that week. Is that really a valid excuse?  There are really quick airplanes these days.) Solution: Patience, please. You’re on the list.

6. You slipped up when you told me they were all packed up in banana boxes. Honest, if you’re not going to make the effort at least to read my blog….

Answers to your FAQ: Yes, we want your books. No, I’m not saying your books aren’t everything they ought to be. Yes, I know you’re a personal friend of the mayor, the president of the library, and Oprah’s lighting director’s third cousin once removed. Yes, Thank you, I’m sorry, and what lovely books you have, my dear. (If you hadn’t spent your whole life indoors reading them, though, you might have made the acquaintance of someone who owns a car.)

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