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A Transition and A Shameless Plug

     A couple of fairly significant changes have taken place over the last few weeks. 10 days ago I officially started Graduate School. I knew this was coming, I’ve done my best to ready myself for entering into full time school again after getting my BA 7 years ago, but I am admittedly still scrambling a bit. My first paper was due yesterday morning and I only managed to finish it 8 minutes before class started. (I may recycle some of my homework here if I ever find myself in need of subject matter >:)  )
I also handed in my resignation letter and left the full time job I’d had for 3 years on the same day. I had intended on continuing to work full time, but, about a week and a half before my (former) co-workers and I were all handed letters saying that the shelter would be closing and we were to be reassigned within the agency. I chose to leave rather than chance jeopardizing school with an uncertain but likely fluctuating schedule.  I am a day-walker once more.

     Fortunately I was eligible for student loans, so as long as I stick to a budget, I will be able to survive. However, being loans, I will have to pay them back eventually. I don’t even want to do the math on what my student loan debt is going to be when I’ve finished this program. Why is higher education in the United States so damn expensive?
Thankfully, I’m still generating some kind of income from my gig with Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners. The downside however, is that I can’t budget it as there is no way of knowing how many books I will sell from one month to the next. So, if you’re reading this, whether you’re a regular reader or someone that happened across this one post, consider buying a book from my Amazon store, AikiFox Books, and helping to support both myself and this pretty cool non-profit. Especially now since this is now my primary income source. I’m not trying to guilt trip you or anything (totally a guilt trip)  😉

And for all of you that haven’t followed me on Youtube yet (what are you even waiting for? Go subscribe to me, damnit!) here is a video from earlier in the month (perhaps a week before finding out about the shelter closing) that shows you what is pretty much a typical night at B2P:

8 thoughts on “A Transition and A Shameless Plug

  1. I love how you edited and shot this video, showing us what you do! I was engaged, and I knew you wouldn’t finish those boxes when your eyes started involuntarily CLOSING. Lol. So what is books for prisoners? Is it donations from individuals? And does it go to the prison system?

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the video! One of these days I will have to see if I can get the ladies who run the program to agree to an interview to better explain the program, haha. My job is a bit disconnected from the rest of the program, so I don’t know ALL of the details, BUT, the way I understand it from my perspective:
      1) Books are donated to the program by individuals or sometimes we get donations in from the local University’s bookstore
      2) The ladies in charge and volunteers sift through the donations and pull out any books prisoners might want/ need and prisoners get first priority on anything that comes in. This is the stage I don’t know nearly as much about because I’m never there for it. I know that prisoners write in requesting books and they work with prisons all through the state of Illinois, sometimes partnering with prison libraries (if the prison happens to have one – my impression here is that this is a luxury).
      3) After they’ve sorted the books by whatever criteria the use, anything not going directly to prisons gets boxed by genre and stacked in that corner where I start going through them – and then you see what I do in the video.
      4) Twice per year they have a community book sale (of all the books I end up putting in that storage room)

      Online and Community sales bring in revenue to cover overhead costs (rent, shipping, etc)

      • I will say that all of the boxes on that table in the hall – those came from the University. Those were ALL textbooks. And, as those bring in the highest revenue, they allow me first crack at those when they come in in bulk at the end of the school year. But this is the only exception to the rule, after doing a cost/ benefit analysis – market values to textbooks fluctuate very quickly and there is a small window right at the end of the school year.

      • I do believe there are other such programs across the country, however, to be clear, the Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners program functions within the state of Illinois.

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