Sunday, February 17, 2008

Host a Book Swap

Are books breeding on your bookshelves and bedside table? With so many good books to read and inexpensive second-hand options, our household seems to attract books with magnetic force. A few years ago, I made a rule that we could only own as many books as would fit on our shelves.  The selection process is difficult-what gets to stay, what must go. Since I tend not to re-read novels, most of them go. I do keep a few if they are likely ones I want to share with friends or family or if they simply make me happy by glancing at the title on the binding as I walk by (book lovers know what I mean). I realize this last rule is cheating. I also keep reference books that we use over and over. My daughter thinks it is silly to even own a dictionary with the internet, but I still like snuggling up on the couch with my gardening books in February in a way that my laptop just can't replace. This past year, we added two shelves and still the books are spilling across the bedroom floors. 

Time to purge. I know for many avid readers, this advice will be on par with tooth extraction, but think of all the new "yet-to-be-read" books that you will be making room to invite in! In addition, if you love a book, share with others! Here are a few ideas for your books:

1. Host a book swap party. A group of women friends and I do this each year. We pile all our books on a table and take home whatever looks good (not a 1-for-1 trade necessarily). It is like Half-Price-Books with live book reviews! We donate what is left to charity. 

2. Host a children's book swap. We do this at my children's school. The kids bring in books to donate ahead of time and the moms organize them by reading level and genre. The kids can then come by class to choose as many books as they brought in. We make sure that we have enough so that every child gets at least one, even if they didn't bring on in. It is wonderful to see their eyes light up at the surprise of getting a free book for summer reading. The teachers get to take any leftovers for the classroom, which is especially nice for new teachers who are building up their library. If you have 4-6th grade books to donate, we are always in need of these for the swap since most families donate books their kids have outgrown. Contact Hartland North Elementary at

3. Donate your children's books to an organization that gets them in the hands of children. Children's hospitals often give books to children who are hospitalized or can use them for their playrooms or waiting rooms. Our local library has a summer reading incentive program where books are given as prizes. Daycares or homeless shelters are other options.

4. Consider sharing a book through Book Crossing. This hobby shares books by leaving ("releasing") an internet registered book in a public place for someone to find. The finder can then let the placer know it was found online, read it, and leave it for another lucky finder. Check out

5.  Swap your magazines. Hartland public library has a magazine swap shelf. We also do this at our church. Consider starting a swap in your community. 

Share your ideas for local book/magazine swaps, donations and sharing on this blog. 

No comments: