Networking, Helping Hands Solve Book Transport Problem
by Kristen Taylor

Editor's note: Kristen Taylor is a graduate student providing support for the MSPP. A popular U.S. television show features Tim the Tool Man. But another hardware man named Tim--and other helping hands--provided the answer to this question: How can we transport heavy boxes of books to public and school libraries in the Pacific Islands when we cannot afford shipping costs?

For several years, South Eugene High School has been generously donating boxes of books monthly to the Micronesia and South Pacific Program. Until recently, the boxes piled up in the office until Maradel lugged a few with her on her trips to the various islands. Thanks to donations from the Alliance for Cultural Exchange, in December we were able to mail some of the boxes to the Pohnpei Public Library and the College of Micronesia in Pohnpei.

Despite this generous gift, our challenge remained: How do we transport books regularly to the islands when funding sources are scarce? With creativity and successful networking, we found a more permanent solution. Pohnpei True Value Hardware store's general manager, Tim McPhae, offered to donate a four-by-four-foot pallet on his monthly cargo shipment from Portland. We were ecstatic; now the task seemed simple. We just needed to get books to Portland each month. The solution, however, was not so straight forward.

We pick up books from South Eugene High School, bring them back to the MSPP office, prepare the boxes with big labels (to avoid any confusion), and deliver them to the Eugene True Value Hardware store. Cotter and Company (one of True Value's shipping companies) picks up the boxes and makes a special route stop at Dateline Exports in Wilsonville, Oregon, near Portland to drop off the books. Dateline then packs the books in the cargo shipment going to Pohnpei True Value Hardware. After all these connections, the books are finally on their way to Pohnpei. Once they arrive there, Tim McPhae notifies the various librarians. Logistically this may sound a bit crazy; however, our first shipment went out before the holidays and the libraries received their books without a hitch!

We're enthusiastic about this network approach to book distribution because it provides us with a way to establish an ongoing book program for libraries in the Pacific Islands. Our thanks to True Value Hardware, Cotter and Company, and Dateline Exports. We are now working to find a way to distribute books to other islands and remain optimistic about the continued expansion of our library development program.

On another front in this program, the MSPP has linked the library at the College of the Marshall Islands with the Follett Company, producers of the software utilized by most libraries for collection cataloging and management. Once the details are settled, the MSPP will provide an appropriate software package to the College of the Marshall Islands Library, now under the leadership of Maxine Becker.


Micronesia and South Pacific Program
5244 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403 USA
(541) 346-3815; FAX (541) 346-2040

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