Winter RAT Revealed: The One-Shot Alchemy Pledge Drive

I imagine I’ll be writing this in fits and starts, given how busy we are tonight.  The reference room is filled with people using our reference books and our computers.  The collective hum of scholars makes me almost as happy as the baba ghanouj I had on dinner break.  Given the quality of the baba ghanouj here in Oakland, that’s saying something.

But:  a post I promised you, and a post you shall have.  Especially since it’s less a post and more of an invitation to join me on my next wacky library adventure.

The Winter RAT One-Time Pledge Drive

Terri Gross I’m not.  I am, however, participating in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Winter Read-A-Thon, a fundraiser dreamed up by my peers who work in the New and Featured department.  When they first announced the project, I had two thoughts simultaneously:

  1. That’s sheer genius!, and
  2. Hey, the acronym for that would be Winter RAT

Good thing I wasn’t on the planning committee, eh?

At any rate, it works like this:  you sign up to secure pledges for the amount of time you spend reading between January 8 and February 19, 2011,  Pledges can also come in the form of one-time, flat donations.  This is to prevent persons like myself, who read 24/7, from taking unsuspecting pledgers to the cleaners.

And I thought, help raise funds for my library by doing what I’m going to do anyway?  Where’s the registration form?  And where the heck can I find a stuffed rat to serve as my project mascot?

Meet Rattus Jellibatus, the official mascot of the Winter RAT project.

Rattus Jellibatus

Isn’t he adorable?  I found him on Etsy, and he’s winging his way here from Australia as we speak.  Once he gets here, I plan to photograph him in various spots at the library, enjoying the books, using our research databases, and, of course, helping me raise funds for the Read-A-Thon.

[I should point out that at least one colleague has expressed disdain for poor Rattus, and has threatened to stomp on him.  I am currently writing up a Rat Sensitivity Training Plan that I hope to submit to Human Resources by the end of the month.  Honestly.  Some people's children.  Hee.]

The Ask

This is where you come in, gentle readers.  I would like you to consider signing up to sponsor me for Winter Read-A-Thon, and I’ve come up with a number of different incentives for you to do so.

I know you probably get a lot of requets for donations on a regular basis.  I’m adding my request to the pile for two simple reasons:

  1. I believe libraries change lives, and
  2. You don’t ask, you don’t get.

That being said, I don’t believe in asking over and over and over again.  This isn’t PBS or NPR.  You have lives, and limited funds.  So here’s what I’m proposing.  Take a look at the list of incentives below, and consider making a one-time pledge.  You may make a pledge at any point between now and February 19, and you have until March 1, 2011 to send me your pledges.

I know, I know, it’s tough times out there.  I assure you, no donation is too small – I believe in the power of crowdsourcing.  If, for example, every single one of my Facebook friends pledged only $1, I would be 90% of the way toward my high-end goal, of which we shall speak in a moment.  But if you’re not in a position to give, I totally feel you.  That’s why I’m only asking once.

What’s In It For Me?

 I’m so glad you asked!  If you make a pledge to LAV’s Winter RAT project, you get the following:

  • Access to a pledgers-only Winter RAT blog, which will detail my readerly adventures, and feature many darling photos of Rattus Jellibattus in quirky Pittsburgh locations, once he makes it through TSA screening.
  • The chance to win swag in a weekly raffle.  Trust me.  It’s cool stuff.
  • The power of recommendation compels me!  I give my peer Karen Keys credit for this one–if you pledge me, you get to pick one book for me to read per dollar pledged, up to $5.00 (keep in mind, I can’t read EVERYTHING  in a finite period, so play nice).

You will also get my undying gratitude, but many of you have that anyway.  There is, however, one more thing.

Straight to Pink

My high-end fundraising goal is simple:  If I can obtain $500 in pledges for Winter Read-A-Thon, I will dye my hair as pink as dear Rattus Jellibattus.  And I will leave it that way through ALA annual, so that you can get the full effect in New Orleans.

But Leigh Anne, you may protest.  YA librarians do that all the time as an incentive for their teens.  Why is this different?

It’s different because not everybody reading this essay is a librarian, for a change.  And there are quite a few people in my past and present who would get a big charge out of sensible, sedate old me doing something so overtly outrageous when covert ops are more my style.  At least, I’m hoping. 

So, if you think LAV with a head of bright pink hair would be a hoot, please consider making  a pledge at your comfort level.  Honesty compels me to admit I’ve already netted my first donor by promising she could come with me to the hair salon and watch me get it done, so the journey’s already started, my friends.  Have at it.

Nuts and Bolts

If you’ve already made up your mind to sponsor me, woohoo! Please e-mail me at vrabell at carnegielibrary dot org with the subject heading “Winter RAT Pledge” and the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. The amount of your pledge
  3. Your e-mail address if you wish to have access to the subscriber-only Winter RAT blog
  4. The best way to contact you if you win a weekly raffle

Keep in mind you don’t need to send anything now.  In fact, I’d be interested in knowing how many of you would like a PayPal pledge option – I can set that up easy-peasy, if there’s enough interest.

If you need some time to think about it, feel free.  Bookmark this post.  Think it over.  Get back to me.  You can leave a comment here at Alchemy, or e-mail me at the address given above with the subject heading “Winter RAT question.”

And if now is not the correct time for you to make a donation?  I totally understand.  Thank you in advance for reading this missive–which, as I suspected was banged out hastily between patron interactions–and godspeed to you in 2011.

I’m dreaming of a pink NoLA, and a well-funded Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  What say you?

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  1. Karen said,

    January 5, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    1. Karen Keys
    2. $1 per day that you read. If you read every day, I’ll throw in a bonus.
    4. See e-mail above.

    I’m not going to suggest a title, but rather ask that you read any Alex Award book. (I’ve been on the committee that last two years.) We’ll be naming the new books on Monday. Woo!

    I’m down with PayPal or I could just send a check.

  2. January 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    *jawdrop* Karen, thank you from the bottom of my heart. That is insanely generous of you. Many of the books to which I’m drawn end up becoming Alex picks – I’m so excited to see the new list!

    Thank you for participating and forcing me to get organized. Would you believe, I left my pledge form at home today? Bad fundraiser! But this is why we have scratch paper. And google docs. ;)

  3. Kelley said,

    January 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I again offer a flat donation of $10 for you AND I’ve already got $45 for my own reading! Wahoo!

  4. Kelley said,

    January 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Oh, and Alex books ROCK! They are some of my all-time favorites!

  5. January 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    $10 for 10 minutes alone with the winter RAT on the workday of my choosing. you may not accompany us. we will not leave the main library. there will be no physical damage, but the psychological scars will never fade.

    – amy

    p.s. you’ve been a pink sissy so far, so i’ll believe that one when i see it.

  6. January 6, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    @Kelley, thank you again! I will pledge $10 right back at you, fellow winter ratter! Mark me down!

    @Amy, you didn’t have to out yourself as the rat-hater. Then again, I didn’t have to bait you. No amount of money, though, would convince me to leave you alone with my precious rat. :)

    @everyone in eyeshot. Amy doesn’t believe I’d do it. Place your pledges/bets!

  7. Will Manley said,

    January 7, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    What would be an appropriate pledge from a retired library lifer?

  8. LAV said,

    January 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    @Will, I would never presume to dictate a figure – if you are inclined to give, I would be happy with whatever size donation you felt comfortable with!!

  9. Jessa said,

    January 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Oh, you *will* be having the pink hairs at Annual. That there’s a plane ticket that would practically buy itself.

    I seem to maybe possibly have a job lined up (!), so lemme figure out which end is up with that before pledging. I will pledge, though! Happy readings. <3

  10. LAV said,

    January 11, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Jessa, that is so kind and generous of you! Fingers crossed for the best possible outcome – just let me know, when you are ready, what pledge you feel comfortable making.



  11. Tina said,

    January 12, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    LAV…you had me at RAT. I am a lover of rats as they make the most adorable and loving pets, so count me in!!!! =) Oh, and because of the whole book reading, library thing too ;)

    (actually books first then rats, but i was trying to be funny in case I’ve made a bad attempt at humor)

    1) Tina Wallin
    2) $20 pledge
    3) – and the best way to contact me =)

  12. January 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Tina, thank you so much! That is both gracious and generous – it’s also lovely to meet a fellow rat lover. :)

    I was just about to type tonight’s subscriber blog post, so I will add you first, and then you’ll be sure to get it. Huzzah!

  13. Tina said,

    January 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I know you will reach your goal, so the big question is…are you going to change your Blog Photo to your pink hairdo?! ;)

  14. LAV said,

    January 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    LOL – Tina, I’ll go one better: one of the prizes my library’s offering for raising a certain amount of funds is a custom “READ” poster. If I get to the pink-hair level, I will totally goth it up, pink hair and all, and pose that way for my READ poster, THEN use it as my userpic here.

    I mean, if you’re gonna DO a thing, might as well go whole rat, er, hog, right? ;)

  15. Jessa said,

    January 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Waitwaitwait. There’s a LAV READ poster at stake here? And we’ll get to *see* it?!

    Goodness. I better donate soonlike, for this. Must. Happen.

  16. Tina said,

    January 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    LOL…even better! Rock it out RATgirl!

  17. LAV said,

    January 13, 2011 at 11:50 am

    @Jessa, take your time! After all, I still owe you a longer e-mail. ;)

    @Tina, yay, I has a nickname!

  18. January 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm

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