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27 South Main Street, Concord, New Hampshire 03301
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Dear Friends of Gibson's,
FINAL UPDATE: Monday, 9/28--scroll to bottom
The Concord Public Library needs your help--in two ways.
First, budget cuts mean that they don't have the money to acquire a number of new releases. They are reaching out to the community and asking for supporters to donate these titles to them.
But second, instead of involving their traditional community partners, like Gibson's, in this project, they have posted their wish list exclusively on Amazon. To us, this choice is both ironic and unfortunate. One reason that city budgets across the nation are under stress is because too many people are sending their hard-earned money to national retailers like Amazon, instead of keeping their money local, where it provides support for the tax base, local employment, and local philanthropy. The Library and the City apparently need help in understanding the issues involved.
To our knowledge, Amazon has never paid a dime of taxes to the city or to the state. They have not donated gift certificates or books to your PTO or your favorite non-profit. They have not provided jobs to your friends, neighbors, and fellow taxpayers.
In short, if you try to support the library by buying books from Amazon, you are actually harming the library in small but significant ways.
Now, the Library's program with Amazon has been remarkably unsuccessful. Their wish lists have been up for three or four weeks, and only four books have been purchased.
Gibson's hopes you'll help the library out in two ways: first, have a look at the books on this list. If you scroll down, you'll see their fiction wish list. Their non-fiction and children's lists are here and here. Have a look--see which titles you think the library should have. Second, send us a quick email and let us know which book or books you'd like to donate. All of these titles are 20% off, so this won't break the bank. We'll accumulate your emails and make sure there aren't any duplicate requests, and try to make sure the library gets all of the books it wants.
Let's show the library, and city government at large, what people can do when they band together as a community, instead of taking the easy, unthinking route.
UPDATE: (4:00 PM, same day): We've had a tremendous response to this email in the past two hours. Eighteen of the forty-one books listed have already been spoken for. (That's certainly better than 4 in 4 weeks.) We've updated the lists to remove the ones that have been donated already. If you'd like to hear what the up-to-the-minute list is, please call 224-0562 and ask for me or John. We'll try to keep the online listings current as well. SECOND UPDATE: As of 6 PM, only 12 titles remain. Good work, Concord.
FINAL UPDATE: Monday, 9/28
I was out of town Friday through Sunday (college tour with my son, 940 miles, ouch), so I didn't have a chance to post the fact that all of the books on the list were spoken for within 24 hours. We had to pull books from a supplementary list for the Penacook branch to satisfy everyone who wanted to donate.
That's quite an achievement, and it isn't ours--it's yours. It demonstrates what a community can do when it responds to stress by pulling together. I hope we can continue this effort, so I'll be talking to library staff and the city council to try to keep the ball rolling.
In the meantime: shop locally! Let's keep our hard-earned dollars here in Concord, where they can continue to work for us. When you support your neighbor, you're supporting yourself.
Michael Herrmann and your friends at Gibson's