Remember in elementary school, when you’d do that Walk-A-Thon to raise money for some great cause you didn’t understand because you were 7? Remember going around, collecting pledges– your stingy aunt whining about donating 6 cents a mile, the guys at the post office trying to gallantly out-bid each other while staying under a dollar a mile. Maybe you knew someone as stupid as Michael Scott, boss of the hilariously dysfunctional office in the hit television program “The Office,” who donated way more than they meant to because they didn’t realize they were making a per-mile pledge.
And surely you’ve heard of Baltimore’s amazingly wonderful collectively-owned-and-operated bookstore coffeehouse Red Emma’s (www.redemmas.org). So you know that after almost 9 years, Red Emma’s has outgrown our tiny basement storefront in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood in Baltimore and is moving to a space 1 mile north and 5 times bigger!
We ran a very successful crowd sourcing campaign this past winter, but we still need more funds for this bold move. We’re holding several in-town fundraisers (check the website for details), but wanted a fun way for people to get involved via the internet!
That’s where I come in. Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Iris Kirsch and I’ve been a collective member at Red Emma’s since I graduated from Goucher College in May of 2005, 6 months after we opened our doors. In addition to working at Red Emma’s as a barista and supplies coordinator (and as the first to hold the newly created post of Coordinator of Inter- and Intra-Collective Education), I am also a Baltimore City Public School Teacher.
One night a few weeks ago, I was re-watching the first season of The Office (for my own personal edification, of course), and was reminded of the institution of Walk-A-Thon. “Could that be a way to raise money for the bookstore?” I thought. But what would I do, walk around the block? No, it would never work.
That’s when it came to me: My partner and I will be driving cross-country this summer to attend a wedding and a few education-related conferences. Why don’t we do a Library-A-Thon!
So, here we are. I hope you’ll enjoy tracking my progress from library to library, from sea to shining sea. I’ll take pictures of myself at each library to prove that I was there (and because libraries are usually beautiful). My goal is 100 libraries, but my decidedly practical partner doesn’t think we’ll have time for more than 50. I’ll also write up a little about each library, and the town it’s in. I’ll also write reviews of things I read en-route.
And I look forward to reading people’s comments on places, libraries, books, and bookstore!