Posted by Heather Dyer on Oct 29, 2013
Becky Fjelstad and her Stoughton Rotary team present Carol Dombroski with one of the thousands of books her club delivered to Books for the World
Rotary clubs are well known for their ability to make things happen and get things done, but collaboration between clubs on a common project  has not been as prevalent.  However, this may be changing soon for some Dane County Rotary clubs.

Books for the World is an international literacy project which ships used books from the USA to more than 25 developing countries.  It is supervised by Rotarians and has been coordinated in Wisconsin by the Madison Breakfast Rotary since 2007.  The program has expanded significantly every year, exceeding the ability of the club to properly support the growth and raising concerns about long-term sustainability.  Because of this, Madison Breakfast was looking to partner with other Dane County area clubs.  The Stoughton Rotary was the first to answer their call and did so with an effort that could only be called spectacular.

Thor Anderson, Stoughton President, and Carol Dombroski, program coordinator for Wisconsin Books for the World chatted periodically about the prospect of a cooperative project between their clubs which are located just 10 miles apart.  When Thor raised the possibility with his club, the timing was perfect because Becky Fjelstad, a Stoughton Rotarian who is employed by the Stoughton School District, learned that all of the elementary schools in her district were disposing of reading books which were still in very serviceable condition.  The club decided to take on the task, and Becky organized the project into two parts: packing, and then at a later time, transporting the books.  One Saturday in late September, her team of eight Rotarians spent two hours packing all of the books into cardboard boxes.  She said she may have underestimated the size of the project because she now she was facing a room full of boxes, not exactly something you might put in the trunk of your car.  She asked her club for help, and shortly had a furniture truck, a pickup truck, and four vans offered.  After work on October 2nd, she and nine other Rotarians loaded, and then delivered the books to the Books for the World processing center in Middleton.  In about a half-hour, her team unloaded about 275 boxes which were estimated to be approximately seven tons of books.  Carol said, “We were amazed by how quickly this big job got done.  In no time we had 11 pallets of books unloaded because their team was enthusiastic and everyone pitched in.”

This was a great start to what is hoped will be an expanded level of cooperation among Dane County area Rotary Clubs.  District Governor, Dean Ryerson, summed up the project: “Stoughton answered the call of another club that was in need of help.  This is exactly the response that I was hoping to see, and I look forward to more of the same as we promote collaboration between clubs.  Thanks and congratulations to Stoughton for taking the first step.”

Other clubs wishing to learn more about partnering with Books for the World can contact Carol Dombroski at