I got an interesting question today while I was getting my oil changed. I was telling the mechanic about the bookstore. (In fact, there aren't many people I don't tell about the store that I see out in the world. It is the second best thing I've ever had a hand in making, and I'm very proud of it.) He interrupted my sermon about our 200,000 books and asked me what makes our bookstore different.
I started to talk about the selection, and the space, and the staff. All of which I think are pretty special. But, I wish I would have said something else.
Don't you hate that? When you think of the right thing to say after the fact? Since it would be weird to go back to Jiffy Lube and tell the guy now what I should have told him then, I'm going to tell you.
All we have done is to build a framework. You all know that for every book that we sell, we give one away. You know that we make space for community events. You know we work with groups in our community that are trying to give back in the same kind of way that we do.
Then we open our doors and wait for you all to shine, and that is exactly what you do. Time and time again.
Over the past couple of weeks you all have helped to make sure that homeless children will have gifts this Christmas. Earlier this year you raised over $1,000 for hurricane victims. Last year you raised over $5,000 to help my favorite young reader in the world Brody Heinrich and his family as they battled (and continue to battle) a terrible condition. And since we opened our warehouse to the public, your purchases have allowed us to donate over 200,000 books locally here in Dayton, and around the country.
So as 2017 is coming to a close, we want to say thank you to all of you who participate in our community events, give so generously to wonderful causes when we ask, and support us by buying the books that we offer so that we can then give in your names to those that need books the most in our communities.
I want to give our biggest thank you for our community partners. The institutions and individuals that give of their time to help us sort books - a key process that helps in giving away books. The University of Dayton Social Justice Club brings dozens of young people to sort hundreds of books that they then give to kids at Edison, a local Dayton elementary school. The Conscious Connect volunteers sort books and then donate them to local barbershops and set up little free libraries to quench the thirst for reading in book deserts in our own communities.
And our local teachers. We want to share our gratitude for the work they do, day in and day out. Our society asks them to fill their classrooms with books for their students without providing a single penny for the task. Our partnership with them enables us to provide books for their classrooms and the classrooms of others.
Happy holidays to all of you that help make us different. We for sure know that it is you all that make this thing work and we are forever grateful for that.
If you are interested in volunteering and earning books for your efforts that you can use yourself or give away, you can learn more about that here.
The First One is on Us :)