By: Revanche

Donating to teachers: used books

February 22, 2010

As you know, I like to donate, whenever and however I can, to good causes.  Sometimes the cause is tragedy.  Sometimes the cause is an ongoing struggle, against cancer, against discrimination, against the “lesser” wrongs, for a better world

Education is a worthy cause but I’m clearly not at Fund A Scholarship level.  Teachers, however, I can help in little ways. With the myriad demands on their time, energy, and creativity, many teachers also face out-of-pocket expenses for classroom and administrative supplies: pens, notebook paper, copy paper, books.  Fellow blogger-educators E.C., Frugal Scholar, TeawithBuzz, TeacHer Finance and others can certainly attest to the extra expenses expected of teachers.  Knowing that, I’ve always sent any of my personal overages of office supplies to local teachers but wished there was a more substantial way to help.

Now there is!

My teacher friend just told me about a really cool program at his local used bookstore, the Book Rack. When they buy books, one of the ways they offer payment is in store credit instead of cash. This bookstore, however, takes that concept one step further.  They accept/buy books from patrons as usual. For those who wish to donate, their store credit is added to the School Fund.  When teachers come in to buy books for their classrooms, they receive a discount in proportion to the current state of the School Fund.  He’s received 25% off, 50% off, sometimes just a stack of bookmarks for the classroom.

He’s building his own classroom library which is, to my mind, a far better literacy advocacy device than any standardized test, and I’ll be taking my next stack of books to donate over to that Book Rack.

Good teachers are a rarity in our (in my opinion) overly standardized school system that elevates test scores above motivation, innovation, and inspiration.  I’ve had few great teachers, but their life lessons, not just their lesson plans, have remained with me long past the time we spent in the classroom together. Good teachers with good books? Nirvana

I would love to round up books in the SoCal area for a bigger donation, but I’m not sure how realistic that is. 

8 Responses to “Donating to teachers: used books”

  1. Carolyn says:

    The little things definitely add up! This is a great idea.

  2. TeacHer says:

    You are so sweet! I would be so happy if someone would volunteer to do this for me and my school. Hopefully, this post will inspire people to be more generous with their local schools. I know I’m touched!

  3. Sandra says:

    What a good deed you are doing! Most teachers are underpaid in my opinion. I’m glad you do this ~ every little bit helps, especially when it directly benefits the students. Many of us grumble here in Jersey because our property taxes are the highest in the nation. Most of the money funds the schools, specifically, the administrators’ pockets. Anyhow, our PTA host 2 book fairs a year, during which we, the parents, can purchase books for our kids and also buy some books for the teachers. We also have a program where students are encouraged to donate gently used books for the school library, classroom use, and give to other kids. These programs have been great!

  4. Serendipity says:

    That is such a great idea for your friend. I would never think about how many teachers probably try to have their own librarys for the kids there trying to teach. 🙂

  5. Is this a national program? I have so many books that I’ve been too lazy about putting on Amazon. I feel like this would be a better use of them anyway…

  6. eemusings says:

    That is a fantastic idea!!

    Slightly OT – I’ve been trying to sell some clothes online, but failed. I was going to give them to an opshop to be sold, but I’m going to give them to charity instead. I figure at most I’d only get a few bucks back from the secondhand store, and I’d rather they went to a good cause.

  7. Revanche says:

    @Carolyn: Just as much as little money leaks affect our budgets, these little donations should help shore up teachers’ budgets as well!

    @TeacHer: I sure hope it does, I had no idea such a thing existed until Friend told me about it. I had wanted to call ALL the Book Racks to ask which ran this program, I still may.

    @Sandra: That’s a great program your school runs, and like the library donation set-up, I love that it directly benefits the people you’re trying to help.

    @Serendipity: It should have occurred to me earlier to say something about it because I’ve heard many former students tell their teachers that they valued the instructor’s library, growing up.

    @Investing Newbie: The local one said that it’s just what they do, but I would definitely suggest calling any local used bookstore located near a school to ask if they have something similar. If nothing else, though they’re independently owned, The Book Racks are a nationwide franchise.

    @eemusing: Same thing I’m going to do with my dresses if the selling thing doesn’t work out.

  8. I agree. I know from my best friend and son-in-law who are both teachers that there are so many classroom needs that come out of their own paycheck. We need to do everything we can to help.

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