[nfbwatlk] Thank You for your help

Kristina Lawrence tishgifts at gmail.com
Tue Jan 6 22:47:27 UTC 2009

Hello Everyone,

Well, I just wanted to take a moment and say a big THANK YOU to those
of you who could help out at our Book Fair at the downtown Seattle
Barnes & Noble. My first thank you goes out to James Jance who made a
call to Barnes and Noble in November looking for gift wrapping
opportunities for our chapter. Instead, he stumbled upon Jessie
Portlock who is the new Community Relations person at the downtown
branch. Jessie wanted to suggest a book fair and meet with James and
myself. So, I believe it was just before Thanksgiving that I sat down
with James and Jessie at the cafe in Barnes and Noble. Jessie was very
excited about the opportunity to work with us and started the ball

Not long after I had talked with Jessie, Noel called me and told me
that the national office wanted local affiliates to have an event to
promote Braille Literacy on January 4th and that they were suggesting
that Barnes and Noble stores would be interested. She and I laughed
when I told her that I had already started the ball rolling for that
date already. Later that same week, I signed a contract for the book
fair event and flyers were published in time for the Seattle Chapter
Holiday Party, but I forgot to bring them with me (sigh). However, I
did make the announcement at that time that we would need people to
help out with the booth.

So, in the midst of holiday shopping, snow storms and school
vacations, we put out press releases (thank you Chris Danielson for
the templet) and a variety of flyers. First came the "teaser" flyer.
This came out to alert people to what we were doing as Jessie and I
worked on the fine details. These flyers were sent out to the list
serve, WTBBL, DSB, Louis Braille School in Edmonds and personal email
lists. While these flyers were getting the initial attention, I was
contacting local authors via a friend of mine and Jessie was taking
care of the publisher's side and book ordering. Just as things were
supposed to be arriving, western Washington had one of the biggest
snowstorms in the last ten years hit and bring UPS and many
transportation options to a grinding halt. Thank goodness email was
still working.

Just after Christmas the final flyer came out. We had secured our
authors! Amber Kiaser, Toby Bishop and Barbara Cooper would sign books
on Saturday. Kathleen Richardson and Larry Karp would sign books on
Sunday. The books finally arrived at the store. The materials from
National finally arrived at the house. The book from the National
Braille Press finally arrived and all here two days before the event.

Thank you to Ben Cartwright who drove me and the large suitcase of
stuff from Port Orchard to Seattle. Yep, I had a large rolling
suitcase, box of "If Blindness Comes", literature from the NFB about
the Louis Braille Coin, alphabet cards, braille books, braille cards,
braille boxes, braille products, slates, stylus, Perkins Brailler AND
a TV /VCR combonation to play Jake and the Secret Code" on. James
copied the flyers and put them up and out at the downtown Post Office.
He even took some over to Cleo Brooks to distribute throut the Seattle
Public Library. Danielle King asked that the Evergreen Reading Radio
put out PSA's and placed flyers on their counters. Janet George put
the information on the TOVI listserv. The word got out.

On Saturday, I arrived at the store to set up. Mary Helen Schrieber
and James Jance were there to help "man" the booth. Rita Szantay
showed up soon after that so that she could read from the J. K.
Rowlings book "The Tales of Beedle The Bard". She choose the story
"The Wizard and the Hopping Pot".  She talked a bit about Braille and
then I believe that Amber Kiaser read from her own book.

Thank you to Noel Nightingale, who is not only our Braille Coin
Coordinator (sory Noel if I got the title wrong) but was there with
her daughter Leila. Marty Cartwright also showed up for a while as did
Jacob Struiksma. We all had a good time chatting with eachother and
with the public.

Sunday was a much quieter day. Marty and I started off the day. Soon
Marci Carpenter arrived. We had a good time chatting and writing
Braille for those who stopped by the table. I bet I forgot to mention
that we were writing people's names on the top of the new Braille
Alphabet card when they asked. At 2:00pm, I gave a short talk on the
history of literacy for the blind and an overview of Louis Braille's
life. At 3:00, Kathleen Richardson and Larry Karp showed up to do book
signings and Rita showed up to help out again. By the time we closed
up shop around 6:00pm, the snow was coming down thickly and it was
time to go!

Overall, I think we hit around $3,000 in qualifying sales, which means
the chapter should receive a check for somewhere around $400 give or
take some. So, thank you all for your support. Whether you were able
to be there in person or just send out emails asking people to support
the cause I thank you. We should have a final tally in a week or so.
The reason for the delay is that if anyone outside of the Seattle area
went shopping at a Barnes and Noble and used our book fair ID#, that
has to be reported back to the Barnes and Noble main office and then
coordinated via computers. Jessie really went to bat for our
organization with Barnes and Noble. She is in contact with the
Baltimore office to help us get another book fair going for this
October. Since we had such a successful event on such short notice,
this will do well for her and our efforts. Keep your fingers crossed
and maybe we can do this again for the Meet the Blind month.

Kris Lawrence
President, NFBW Greater Seattle Chapter

More information about the NFBWATlk mailing list