Monday, November 23, 2009

If you love books, set them free

For people who love books letting them go, even if you have no intention of reading them again, is one of the hardest things to do. And yes, I am speaking from experience here. An ex-boyfriend of mine once took a series of photos of my double-stacked and groaning bookshelf on his mobile phone so that could bring them out at parties and pubs to show our friends. He couldn’t comprehend how anyone could read so many books, which come to think of it, pretty much illustrates why he’s now an ex…

They may be cluttering up bookshelves and gathering layers of dust, but like so many old friends, it’s impossible to just throw books away. Sacrilege! So, in the name of conducting a Spring clean on my aforementioned double-stacked and groaning bookshelf, I’ve come up with some other book-obsessive- friendlier ideas for letting them go gracefully…

Tag and release
Book crossing  is a worldwide book recycling movement that relies on serendipity to keep books moving. The idea is that books are tagged with a unique Book Crossing number and released "into the wild” in random places for other people to find, read and hopefully pass back on again. Each book has its own online log, which people who find and read the book can add to, allowing the book to be tracked as its travels around the world. In the last 30 days 805 books have been released into the wild in Australia that haven’t been caught yet.

Help the homeless
Started by a Sydney woman, the Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library distributes books to homeless and disadvantaged people living in hostels and on the streets, and through community organisations in Sydney and Melbourne.

Swap online is a new book swapping website, which aims to promote and encourage the saving of trees. For every book members put up on the site, they receive credits (known as branches) to receive other books. Books are swapped on a one for one basis. For every 116 books (roughly the amount of books which can be made from one tree) that get swapped, the website will support the planting of a tree.

Donate to a charity store
Charities such as the Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul and Lifeline raise up to 80% of their revenue from fundraising and retail operations, relying on donations including books to stock their shops. Lifeline also hosts a huge book fair each year.

Support classical music
Sydneysiders can donate books to 2MBS-FM’s Book & Music Bazaar, held regularly at various locations throughout Sydney, to raise funds for this not-for-profit radio station.

Support your local community
Schools always welcome donations of books for sale at school fetes, and local libraries are after good quality recent releases.

Ps: the photo is of a much tidier, more organised bookshelf than my own. Something to aspire to!

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