The Dewey Donation System
June 27, 2006 11:42 AM   Subscribe

The Dewey Donation System is site that helps re-stock libraries devastated by Katrina, by posting wishlists of Louisiana and Mississippi libraries and letting anyone buy books for them. Cool looking site, to boot. [via mefi projects]
posted by mathowie (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That's really, really cool.
posted by brundlefly at 11:49 AM on June 27, 2006

Wow, that's awesome.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:56 AM on June 27, 2006

Absolutely awesome.

Hopefully, some book about this project will eventually be written that gets shelved in the 975s.
posted by blucevalo at 11:57 AM on June 27, 2006

This is very cool, but shouldn't the wish list link to the "ibrary bound" version of the book?
posted by null terminated at 12:05 PM on June 27, 2006

I'm a little confused why this was via projects and not just posted directly here.
posted by smackfu at 12:57 PM on June 27, 2006

Do the libraries not have insurance? Or, infact, a government that'll buy these books!? Eh?
posted by RufusW at 1:03 PM on June 27, 2006

smackfu: amarynth claims that he/she is organizing a book drive for it. Perhaps, she felt that affiliation was close enough to merit playing it safe. For instance, I was not actually involved in one of "my" projects, but was friends with the creators.

amarynth may have been overcautious, but I understand the idea...
posted by brundlefly at 1:10 PM on June 27, 2006

This is really wonderful.
posted by tastybrains at 1:16 PM on June 27, 2006

Um, shouldn't, like, the government fund libraries? Or is that considered some kind of Commie talk over there?
posted by reklaw at 2:13 PM on June 27, 2006

The government should do a lot of things that it doesn't. Libraries are considered intelligence-gathering nodes, I think. Nothing more.
posted by brundlefly at 2:21 PM on June 27, 2006

Slightly o/t, but the good folks who put this together (Glark, Pamie, Wing Chun, etc.) are part of Damn Hell Ass Kings, a collection of great blogs and sites, including our own GaelFC's Pop Culture Junk Mail. She's the one who turned me (and probably lots of others) on to MeFi. This is a wonderful project.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:25 PM on June 27, 2006

Um, shouldn't, like, the government fund libraries? Or is that considered some kind of Commie talk over there?

The government should do a lot of things that it doesn't.

Our government is useful mainly for helping out big corporations. People here are considered superfluous actually.
posted by maggiemaggie at 3:06 PM on June 27, 2006

As are libraries.
posted by blucevalo at 3:10 PM on June 27, 2006

Odd, I thought OCLC was hot and heavy on anyone who tried to use "Dewey" connected with anything library-related. Maybe they've decided to let this one go for the good of society.

The books on the wishlists don't need to be library bindings. Most public libraries have a mix of paperbacks, trades, and hardbound. My last library hadn't had anything bound in years. They'd just throw a protective cover on the hardbacks and some tape on the paperbacks and trades.
posted by ?! at 7:18 PM on June 27, 2006

i visited the pass christian library a few months ago. some members of my relief team worked there. they could really use some books. most people in town lost all their personal books, so the library has become pretty popular, even with the few books the library has. operating out of a trailer, the library is kind of the nerve center for all the relief activities in town. if you aren't part of a group but want to help out with reconstruction, you can just wander into the library and ask around. they will hook you up where your skills are needed. and there's a lot of need. especially if you can sheet rock or roof.

here's a temporary holding place for some pass christian library pics.
posted by 3.2.3 at 7:24 AM on June 28, 2006

?!: I think null terminated meant in the case of children's books. I work at a major publisher, and when we publish a children's book, we almost always publish a smaller print run of really heavy-duty library editions that cost much more. The libraries don't have them bound that way--we do. Libraries and schools buy them that way.

On Amazon, you can usually buy the library binding if it's still in print. Sometimes it's just listed as a different "hardcover." (Sometimes it's listed as "School and Library Binding" or something else). If you search for a kids' book, and it has two "hardcovers" listed, the more expensive one will probably be the library binding and the less expensive will be the trade hardcover. Also, amazon doesn't usually do discounts on the library binding ones.

Looking at the Biloxi wishlist, it looks like in some cases the one listed IS the library binding (listed as "hardcover"), and that the original trade hardcover is out of print, and instead there are board and/or paperback editions available. For instance, there's a Little Bear book whose retail price is listed as over $18--I highly doubt that a trade hardcover of a Little Bear book would cost that much. It's also possible that for a lot of these books, the library editions themselves are out of print. These libraries could have bought some of these books a looooong time ago. And library editions don't reprint very often, as libraries don't often need new copies of books they've already bought (because the library editions are built to last). And the original print runs are usually very small. But when a large number of libraries are destroyed, it's one of those rare situations where they're going to want a large number of new copies of pretty old books.

And I imagine that these libraries, especially the children's sections, will happily take the editions they can find. But if you do happen to have a library edition hanging around, they list the full addresses--you don't have to go through Amazon.
posted by lampoil at 10:26 AM on June 28, 2006

Well, in fact the Federal government has authorized federal funds for these libraries. There was a contingent of 100 FEMA personnel in place in Mississippi 48 hours before Katrina's landfall. I was one of them. Hundreds more arrived shortly after Katrina passed through.

As in any disaster with federal declaration the Stafford Act authorizes funding recovery activities for public facilities, including libraries. As difficult as it may be for some people to believe there are many hard working dedicated FEMA employees (certainly not all of them) who spent time in Biloxi, Gulfport and all of the other devasted communities in Mississippi helping local entities get federal money to rebuild and to replace losses. That includes providing money to replace books in public schools and libraries. The recovery effort will continue for years to come.

Individual donations to The Dewey Donation System and other NGOs are a great thing and people should continue to help. Working for a disaster relief organization gives me a chance to see first hand how valuable non-profit private contributions are. Yes, I donate too.
posted by X4ster at 10:36 AM on June 28, 2006

A quick look found this- FEMA link

BILOXI, Miss. -- An additional $45.01 million in Public Assistance grants for Mississippi has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That brings the state's total FEMA Public Assistance reimbursement for Hurricane Katrina recovery to $1.33 billion.

The Harrison County Library System will receive $1.18 million to replace 30,000 destroyed books, furnishings and equipment at the Gulfport Public Library.
posted by X4ster at 10:46 AM on June 28, 2006

RufusW, insurance companies pay a flat fee per book lost, one for hardcover, one for paperback. While I don't know exactly what those amounts are now, the last time I had to deal with it (about 10 years ago), it was nowhere near enough to actually replace a book.
posted by QIbHom at 11:30 AM on June 28, 2006

"Hello, we put millions of books below sea level and they washed away. Please send us more."

Someone call Nicholson Baker!
posted by jscott at 10:52 PM on June 30, 2006

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