Sunday, May 15, 2011

The "Official" Announcement

Ok, well I was wanting to wait until some more details were in place to talk on here about what our specific plans are for a recovery project in Ringgold, and it looks like now is a good time to announce.  I mentioned in my earlier posts that our town was torn apart by the tornadoes.  Both our middle and high schools will have to be rebuilt.  Luke and I drove by this weekend and took a few pictures:

As you can see, both schools have had serious damage.  Crystal and I had discussed having an online auction to benefit our cities, which led to Crystal's project All 4 Alabama, and I emailed Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking For Salvation At The Dairy Queen, which is set in Ringgold, to ask for a signed book.  She and I met for lunch, and decided we'd focus on a more long-term goal: rebuilding the libraries for Ringgold Middle School and High School.  Since our lunch, the project has blossomed into something amazing.  We have some amazing authors who are partnering with us (Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott) and the support of Crown Books (a division of Random House). 

After this tragedy, Ringgold has seen amazing and instant support from so many places.  Immediate needs are being taken care of.  But we want to make sure Ringgold knows that we care about the long-term as well, which is why we've chosen to do a project that won't be as immediate, but will be something that we work on until the schools are rebuilt.  We will be holding fundraisers, seeking donations from individuals and publishers, and locating resources for the school libraries until the schools are rebuilt and restocked.  So now is the time to start setting aside books.  What I'm asking from my readers is that you guys think of the long-term as well.  When you go to book sales, buy online, and clear your shelves, think of Ringgold.  If you are an author, publisher, or publicist, when you are distributing copies of your books, think of Ringgold.  This is a project that can not only restore what has been lost in the tornadoes, but also to promote teen literacy. 

Our first major project is to choose a name.  Here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:

Reading for Ringgold
Shelter for the Storm
Ringgold Reads
Rebuilding Ringgold's Readers
Be A Neighbor - Give a Book
Tiger Tales...Bringing Books Back to Schools

We're still looking for suggestions to discuss at our next meeting.  If the "winning" suggestion comes from one of my readers, I'm offering a giveaway as a reward.  If your name is chosen, I'll send a handmade book wreath or "vintage" book recovered in a style of your choice.  If you don't need book crafts, I'll let you choose a book from my collection!

To close, I want to post some of the pictures Luke and I took last night as we drove back into Ringgold.  There was an amazing double rainbow right over Ringgold in the most vivid colors I've ever seen.  I'm sentimental, I know, but it just seemed so hopeful. 

Coming off the interstate into Ringgold

Right above the "Welcome to Ringgold" sign - you can see a little bit of the second rainbow in this one

In our neighborhood - the high school is a mile or so behind those houses



  1. SO proud of what you're doing, Julie! Sending you many prayers for success. I like Rebuilding Ringold's Readers, btw.

  2. This is SO awesome!! Please keep updating on how to help! :)

    As for names...all I'm thinking about is Reading Rainbow.

  3. I know I already threw out a few in your e-mail but I was thinking about it on the way home for work and thought of another one.

    Literary Love (can you tell I really enjoy alliteration?)

    Anyway, I'm so happy that you're getting to do this and my offer of helping still stands. I'm LOVING All 4 Alabama but I want to do more than that. Maybe this can one day end up having a branch in Birmingham :-)

  4. I have no suggestions for names but just wanted to say I love what you are doing!

  5. I know I gave Susan a couple of suggestions on twitter, and I like some of the ones you mentioned. I think I had Reading for Ringold, not too hard...LOL.
    I gave Susan my support, I've got tons of books....eek, and a 13 year old so maybe he will have some things to donate too. When details become more firm, I'll be there for you!!

  6. How awesome, Julie! Lots of luck to you.

    I tweeted a few names but then got the fail whale, so I'll repost here...

    How about "By Hook or By Book: Rebuilding Ringgold"?

  7. What an amazing thing you are doing! I'm so excited for you - sending lots of good luck your way. Let me know if you need books donated, I have a ton of recent releases that I've read that I'd be honored to donate to your cause. :o) Many of them are hardback and look brand new.