Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Outhouse Book Drive – An Update

Yesterday, I went back to Outhouse in Dublin for a meeting with the centre’s manager. Martha Whyte is a wonderful and enthusiastic lady who clearly loves her centre and the job she gets to do there.

She took her time to tell me about Outhouse, its history and all the great services it provides. I won’t go into all the details here, because they can be found on their website, but it was inspiring to be told about it all by someone who is clearly devoted to her job.

As far as the book drive is concerned, I do want to share the following. The Outhouse library doesn’t have a dedicated librarian at the moment, but they have started the selection process and hope to have somebody starting in January. Of course that works out brilliantly with my initial plan; to collect the books now and donate them by the end of that month. If everything goes according to plan, the new librarian will be familiar with the library and the current stock by then, and ready to receive and integrate the new books.

Like I said, Martha Whyte is very enthusiastic and it was impossible not to get swept up in her passion. And that is why I’ve now committed myself to putting all the titles they’ll receive from us in a spreadsheet. Hopefully that will make it easier for them to determine what exactly they’re receiving without having to handle every single paperback immediately, and to integrate the books into their existing catalogue.  I will also be working out a schedule which would allow me to stay involved with the library and the centre after the donation has taken place. It won’t be easy. It is a three hour round trip for me and my regular job often has me working on varying days but where there’s a will, there’s a way, so I’m sure we’ll be able to come up with a plan that works for all involved.

The fact that I’m creating that spreadsheet means that I need all the books to come to me before I bring them to Dublin. I will be contacting everybody who still needs them, with my address details over the next few days. And if you're interested in joining this book drive please contact me:

We also spoke about author readings and meet-and-greet events and Martha assured me the centre would be more than happy to welcome visiting authors to the centre. So, should any of you have plans to visit Dublin at any point in the future and be interested in such an event, please let me know and I’ll help set it up. This is, of course, an open-ended invitation.

Finally I want to thank everybody for getting involved and for your generosity. The response has been so good that I was mildly afraid of overwhelming the centre. Fortunately they’re made of tougher stuff than I gave them credit for, and they are very excited about welcoming any book we’d like to make available to their readers.

By coincidence, the first five books arrived by post yesterday and have been recorded. I can’t wait to see what the postman will be bringing next.

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