Target Who Books Donated to Schools: 9673
Inspired Donations by Other People: 416

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Donating 11,000 Books to School Libraries to support Children's Literacy

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Who Cares!

We are Target Who and today we have been honoured with a mention in the hallowed pages of Doctor Who Magazine.  So, welcome Doctor Who Magazine readers, we hope you approve of our little Anniversary Year project.  

We found ourselves in the position of being able to commemorate this most special of years with a selfless act that not only celebrates our love of Doctor Who, but also symbolically passes the torch to the new generation of fans that will keep it burning bright for the next fifty years.  

However, the piece in Gallifrey Guardian doesn’t quite tell the whole story though.  For example, we started with 11,000 Doctor Who books, which turned out to be closer to 14,000 and now we’ve moved beyond even that as you can read in our post The Adventure of the Donated Detective.

Here’s a quick guide to the blog.  Up at the top you’ll find two counters.  The one of the left counts every single book that we place into schools, completely free of charge.  The one of the right is YOUR counter.  You see it might sound like we have a lot of books, but with the number of schools in the country - all with shrinking budgets and Doctor Who loving reluctant readers – we can’t reach them all.  We hope that YOU will like what we are doing.  We hope you’ll support us.  We hope you’ll simply be inspired by our project to buy a single book of your own and donate if you YOUR local school too.  You can read more about this in our post We Aspire to Inspire.  Several fans have already done this in the UK, Tasmania, Australia and New Zealand.  We hope more will follow in their footsteps and become part of our cause.  

Down in the right hand column you find links to some of our special features.  There is the pin map  that details the location of every book donated.  Click on those pins in Oceania.  Can we place a pin for you?

You will also find three photo albums containing photos of our books, our book donations and photos sent by teachers of Doctor Who in schools.  This is followed by links to news stories about Target Who that have appeared around the internet.

Also dotted around the blog you’ll find Target Tales, like The School on the Hill That recounts the tale of how one of our number discovered his love of reading with a Target novel.  Maybe you have a Target Tale to share too.  Please email them in and we may feature you as a guest blogger.  

You’ll also find the occasional report on some of our book donations, like The Universe Conspires when a member of our group returned to his childhood school to donate books - Maybe you could do the same?  There is also a special report from when we tested just how far we could get a set of books at zero cost to ourselves and we discovered that With Passion, Communication, Courtesy and Teamwork Anything is Possible...

You might also like our birthday tribute to Terrance Dicks - The Unsung Hero of Children’s Literature. There won’t be many features like this, because this project is not really about Doctor Who.  It’s about something far more important - Children’s literacy.  Many of the children in schools today regard reading as something they are ‘forced to do’ at school.  That opinion will change the first time they are completely captivated by a book.  The first ‘magic book’ that reaches inside their mind and makes them fall in love with reading.  Then everything will change - their reading skills, their writing skills, their confidence and their self-esteem.  They will flourish and the catalyst that starts this transformation might be a single book.  This is why EVERY book is important.  Every book has the potential to change a life.  Even that book - the one you’re thinking about right now. The book you read as a child that caused you to fall in love with reading.  Please support us by buying a copy of your ‘magic book’ and donating it to your local school.  Go on - change someone’s life.

We are Target Who.  We have big plans.  We are speaking to many people.  We have many surprises in store for you, but…. Shhh! SPOILERS!  You’ll have to keep watching the blog.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Target Who?

WE are Target Who.  The WE is in capital letters to emphasise the group nature of our project.  Today we received some wonderful publicity in TES magazine, but reading it through I’m concerned that many of the teachers discovering about us via it may think it’s just me driving this project forward.  This is not the case.  

At the very beginning 30 of us came together to purchase the 14,000 Doctor Who books that are slowly spreading out across the World.  Wonderfully those people hailed not just from the UK, but Eire, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Ukraine.  Without any of those people, some of whom have chosen to remain anonymous, Target Who would not exist.   Initial decisions were taken as a group, long before we announced ourselves to the world.
If there is such a thing as ‘Target Who Headquarters’ it exists only in cyberspace connecting Andrew Ledger and I across the 85 miles we physically live apart.  Together we form the driving force of this project, sharing responsibility for replying to the hundreds of emails we have received and organising both publicity and help to get our books to where they need to be.  Here is a rare photo of Andrew and I together surround by most of the Target Who hoard.

 Yes all those stacks behind us ARE Doctor Who books.  Each pack contains 100 copies of a particular title (though some unfortunately have not survived the 25-30 years they’ve been in storage and need to be discarded).  We have deliberately been holding back photographs of the entire hoard we have for schools.  Photos used so far, as impressive as they are, have only contained a small number of our books!   All those pins appearing in the South of England of the Target Who pin map are the work of Andrew, running around delivering or organising friends and family to help move books to the places they need to be … in school libraries.

It’s not just Andrew and I distributing books though.  We have another team member up in Leeds who is working just as hard as Andrew and I.  This is Dave (the other Dave, why are there always two Dave’s!) from Leeds.  

Arriving soon at a school in Yorkshire
He’s Target Who’s very own dispatch rider and he recently spent his 21st Wedding Anniversary traveling round Yorkshire with his wife delivering Target Who books to schools!  Wow! Such dedication to our cause!  Hopefully Dave treated his wife to a slap up Anniversary lunch in the middle of the day!  Not content with only covering Yorkshire, Dave has also organised delivery routes that will be heading to Liverpool and Ayr soon.  He is hard at work arranging ways to reach other locations too.

Then there are other members of the team all delivering what they can where the can.  Andy in the West Midlands, Roger covering South Birmingham and parts of Gloucester, our man in Derby who will also be dropping in Nottingham.  We also have members in other locations that are too busy to help at present but keep threatening to collect books and start distributing after the summer break.

Then we have the relatives of various Team members that have already helped with drops in Wales, Rotherham and Birmingham.  Many more drops by our friends and relatives are currently being arranged.

Finally there are the teachers and librarians that have volunteered to help.  We have schools offering to act as hubs in Sussex, Cardiff, Ayr, Fareham and other locations.  This is enabling us to drop books addressed for multiple schools in a single location.  It’s far easier to persuade a friend to drop a large box of books at a single school while traveling to another area.  It’s much more difficult, if not impossible, to persuade them to take a tour of schools in that area and undertake a number of individual deliveries.  

Some schools are even collecting their books (or the books for their entire area with the agreement of other local schools) while passing one of our hubs.  This is an open offer to any schools already signed up.  I live a few minutes’ drive from Junction 11 of the M5 and may be able to arrange to meet any teacher’s passing by.  Dave in Leeds can meet anyone at Ferrybridge Services on A1/M62 junction, or at York or East Leeds locations.  If you are driving our way and we can get the books to YOUR school faster this way please drop us and email and we will try to arrange to meet you.

Another potential plan to speed up delivery is that one weekend after the summer holidays I’m looking at traveling down to London for the day and sitting at an agreed location in Central London to meet and hand over books to any London schools that have signed up.  Given the sheer scale of London we realise it is going to take a very long time to try and hand deliver each set individually across the boroughs.  We therefore want to give schools the opportunity of helping us speed up your delivery by arranging to meet one of us to personally collect.  When/if this happens it will be well publicised in advance and we will contact all London and possibly Essex schools via email well in advance to advise you of the date.

So, as you can see, Target Who is lots of people really - lots of people working together, giving up their free time and energy all in an attempt to encourage and inspire children in schools up and down the country to pick up a book.  In fact, YOU could be part of Target Who too and you just don’t realise it yet, because Target Who is anyone who supports this incredible aspiration we have, including all those individuals across the globe that have been in touch telling us THEY have donated a book or two to THEIR local school – they are Target Who as well.  We are ALL Target Who….

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Adventure of the Donated Detective

We are Target Who and since we started this project we have asked many people for help.  Friends, family, teachers and one or two other people too.  However, some people did not wait to be asked.  They just loved what we are doing and did what they could to help us.  We have had people mentioning us in blogs, podcasts and news websites and a great many people re-tweeting our links.  Thank you all.  

Today I want to talk about one particular incident and the adventure that followed because of it.  It all started right back at the beginning on 3rd May when I became the first member of the team to get our story into the local papers.  By the end of the day the story had been spotted by Stephen Kelly of the Radio Times and transferred to their website, giving it a much wider audience.  Ever since then we have had a steady stream of inquiries from schools starting “I read about you in the Radio Times...” Thank You Steve and thank you Radio Times.   

They didn’t stop there though, because on the 9th May we received this email:
Dear Mr Dovey,

I am contacting you from Radio Times, where I am aware that we recently ran a piece on your philanthropic actions to secure children’s books to donate to schools.  We much admire your actions and would like to see if we can offer some more books for your cause.

We have a large number of Sherlock Holmes books that we would like to donate to your cause.  Please do let me know if this would be something you are interested in.

Kind regards,

Olivia Thomson
Marketing Team Assistant, Radio Times & Group Legal

Needless to say we said a very loud yes and an even louder thank you.
They needed to obtain permission from the publisher first, and on the 15th May we received another email confirming that Penguin Books were happy for us to have these books and donate them to Senior Schools.  Thank You Radio Times and Penguin Books.

I then got a call from Malcolm Bins of Loricas Solutions to organise delivery.  The books themselves would be sent to me on a pallet in a large articulated lorry - far too large to ever get down my small road.  More help was needed, so I soon found myself at my local CO-OP Supermarket asking the hugest of favours of their staff.  They agreed to help immediately and on 26th May, the Duty Manager Liam Neale and his staff took delivery and with the help of my friend Eric Temple they were unpacked and moved into my possession.  Thanks to the combined efforts of these people we now have a number of Sherlock Holmes books to also donate to senior schools!  They have quickly been spread around our various hubs over the last week, so hopefully schools will begin receiving them soon.  Thank you Loricas Solutions and CO-OP Longlevens.

We are Target Who and we are incredibly grateful for the support we have received so far.  Every book could be that 'MAGIC BOOK' that turns a reluctant reader into a regular reader, and today we have more potential 'Magic books' to share.

Target Who would like to thank Stephen Kelly, Olivia Thomson, The staff of the Radio Times, Penguin Books, Malcolm Binns, Loricas Solutions, Liam Neale and the staff of the CO-OP Supermarket, Longlevens and Eric Temple who helped to make it possible for us to also donate Sherlock Holmes Books into the school libraries of thousands of Children.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

We Aspire to Inspire

We are Target Who.  We are a small group of thirty Doctor Who fans and we hope to inspire you. 

To teachers, pupils and other readers we hope to demonstrate what can be achieved with passion, communication, courtesy and teamwork BUT to Doctor Who fans, wherever you are in the world, we want to inspire you to embrace our cause and JOIN US.  We mentioned this at the very end of our very first post.  We have mentioned this in each and every interview we have given.  We are quietly whispering it, and some of you have already responded to our call.  The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed a post that appeared on our Facebook page from Donald Bain on the 16th of May.  It reads:

Well done, great idea. I don't have any mint Target books but I did find 6 unread hardbacks from 2005 (Dr 9) at the back of a shelf and have donated to my kids local school here in Hobart. Thanks for the inspiration.

That’s Hobart in Tasmania.  Wow!  How wonderful is life in the 21st Century.  We sit and write a blog in the United Kingdom and on the other side of the world someone is moved by our words to embrace our cause.  Donald Bain we salute you.  We are Target Who and we are growing.  We are now a small group of THIRTY-ONE fans.  Welcome to the team Donald.  Whenever you hear Target Who mentioned, know that you were part of what we achieved.  Every fan that now donates a book in our name is following your lead.

And they are following already.  We heard off Steve Goddard from Oxford via a Facebook email.  He told us of some of his childhood memories of reading Target novels and added I'll be more than happy to make a donation of my own: 'The Daleks' would be a very good option.”  When he does, he becomes part of Target Who.

In our other mailbox we received a message from Lucy Hatherell and her 11 year old daughter Isabel.  They told us “Just read your blog and think this is BRILLIANT! My daughter and me are both massive Whovians so it was a no brainer to donate some books to her school! So please add Waddington and West Bradford Primary School to your map who will soon be receiving a lovely parcel containing: Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster, Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet, Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks"
When they do, they become part of Target Who too! And so we grow.

We also heard from “Koth” on a comment on our blog.  What a great plan! I have some books I was going to get rid of. I can donate them to your cause. They are the 90's reprints and never been read, in my library doing nothing but being a variant cover.”
We’ll find a nice school library or three for his books and he’ll become part of Target Who too!

Finally we heard off another fan whose efforts have impressed us so much, we are going to hand the blog over to him temporarily to tell you himself what he’s done.  His name is Roger Smith, and some of you may know him in Doctor Who circles as Black Dalek.  Over to You Roger:

I love the idea of putting something back.
I have been a Doctor Who fan for 50 years.
Doctor Who taught me so much:  compassion; standing up for what is right; helping when you can.  It is the small things that make BIG differences.

It also taught me to read.  The first book I ever bought for myself was Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion.  I read that book and the universe opened up to me its endless possibilities.  So what Target Who are doing ticks all the boxes for me and I wanted to contribute.

I also play cricket for a village team.  It is our 75th Anniversary this year and we are doing things to support our local community.  I had a word with our chairman and the club has agreed to boost my donation to our local schools with even more books.  Everyone is a winner!
I set out to buy a few books, but I discovered that The Book People were selling 6 target Reprints as a set of only £4.99!  If you spent over £25 you got free postage and packing.  I got 36 books for £30.  I also sent for 10 of the £1 The Silurian gift off Amazon, so I set a target of fifty books - one for each year of Doctor’s Who’s existence.  However, I was so impressed with the Quick Read books that it soon became 75 books - one for each year of Woodmancote Cricket Club’s existence.  

 I’ll be spreading them far and wide.  Not just the local village school, but also other schools in Birmingham where I grew up including going HOME I will be taking AUTON INVASION along with some others back to Pegasus Castle Vale, the School where it all started for me with the chipper club so very long ago and to schools where relatives of mine now attend. 

Roger Smith and Woodmancote Cricket Club we salute you.  Your generosity has taken our breath way.  We hoped to inspire fans to also donate a book.  We never expected anything like this.  (The Book People Offer)

We are Target Who and we are barely one month old.  We have whispered an invitation and look the response.  Now we raise our voice and say “JOIN US!”  How many of you reading this recognise the stories above?  Do you have books on a shelf you will never read again like Donald? Do you have Books in cupboards or lofts like Steve, Lucy and Isabel?  Do you have unread duplicate books that remain in your collection just because it has a difference cover like Koth?  Wouldn’t all those books be better off in a school library where they can be read and enjoyed again and again and again until the distant day when they fall apart?  Can you afford to buy a book or talk other people into also supporting our cause like Roger?
JOIN US!  Become part of Target Who.  We have added another counter at the top of the blog to record books donated by YOU in support of us.  We have added a pin in Hobart, Tasmania for the books donated by Donald.  The others will get pins when they confirm their books are now in a school.  How many pins will we get on the map with your donations too?  We hope you will contribute many.  We hope they will span the globe.  Can we get at least one inspired pin in EVERY US State?  Can we get inspired pins in Canada? Australia?  New Zealand?  It is up to YOU.  Finally we have created an inspired donations photo album for photos of you with your books.  Tweet us, message us, email us, or post to our wall.  Just tell us how many and where and include a photo if you like.  Use a pseudonym if you want.  When you do, you become part of Target Who.

We know that Doctor Who Fans are the most generous of people.  For years we have proudly watched as so many of us have quietly raised money for many, many wonderful causes.  This is the 50th Anniversary of our show.  It is our year.  We don’t believe that anything on the scale of what the thirty of us have started has ever been attempted by a group of Doctor Who fans, (or any other type of fans for that matter).  Nothing like it may ever happen again.  This year we will put 14,000 books into thousands of schools completely free of charge to support children’s literacy.  But imagine for one minute that EVERY Doctor Who fan in the world also donated just one book to a local school… together you would make our 14,000 books seem insignificant.  Every single one of you that steps up and joins us will inspire another to do the same.  Will you join us?  Will you help us inspire an entire generation to embrace reading?  Will you become part of what could potentially become the single largest fan lead charitable scheme in the history of the Doctor Who Fandom?

We are Target Who.  We started as thirty Doctor Who fans and a plan to inspire some school children. We want to be so much more.  Join us and we can inspire the world.