Bid on books, help Slave Lake Library

First aired on Island Morning (1/6/11)

One of the unfortunate consequences of the Slave Lake fire was losing the town's library. The 18-month-old library housed 26,000 books, 500 audio books, 200 DVDs and 20 computers, and it was all lost in the fire. Now Prince Edward Island writer and book blogger Colleen McKie is setting out to help them rebuild and restock. McKie organized the online Slave Lake Book Auction. Signed books from authors such as John Grisham and Jodi Picoult are up for grabs and the proceeds from winning bids will support the effort to rebuild Slave Lake Library.

A self-described book nerd since birth, McKie watched the news coverage of the disaster, and couldn't imagine what she would do if it had been her home and her community. She imagined losing her home, family and the possessions she loved the most. "Any time I think of a plan for a fire I think about myself, my husband, the animals, and, my gosh, my books!" she told Island Morning hosts Matt Rainnie and Mitch Cormier in a recent interview.

In addition to being a big book lover herself, McKie recognizes the valuable role libraries play in communities, offering resources, technology, support and entertainment. "I was picturing moms and kids going in to story time, older people going in to read the newspapers, kids going in to use the computers to do research if they didn't have one at home or just hanging out and browsing through the books," McKie said. "That's completely gone for them now." She wanted to find a way to help Slave Lake out, and knew that helping them rebuild the library was a perfect place to start.

McKie took inspiration from recent online auctions to aid Japan after the tsunami and the tornadoes in the United States. After an author offered to donate a book to the cause on Twitter, the idea snowballed from there. Publishers, authors, other book lovers — everyone is getting involved and offering to lend a hand. Auction items have grown from just books to include swag, writing workshops and more. "It's been insane," McKie said. "It's very humbling to see people wanting to donate and help publicize and get the word out."

Auction items are being posted at the Slave Lake Book Auction website every day. Make a bid, and if you win, McKie contacts the winners and you make arrangements to send the funds directly to the Slave Lake Library. It's an easy way to build your personal library at home — and help a great cause. Currently on the auction block are signed copes of Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs, The Canterbury Trail by Angie Abdou and Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong, among others!

You can also follow McKie on Twitter, @Lavender_Lines, where she keeps the status of the auctions up to date.

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