I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library -Jane Austen
I am a recovering book hoarder. There, I said it. Growing up, we didn’t have many toys but we DID have books. My mom was dedicated to taking us to this once-a-year library sale. We would get up early and drive over to the county library and dig through what seemed like a warehouse full of books. It was magical! We would leave with boxes on top of boxes filled to the brim with enough books to keep us happy for months. Those books were precious guides to adventures just waiting to be discovered. As I got older though, I noticed something about those books… they were still sitting at my parent’s house. That is when I realized, I need to share my books with the rest of the world.
As someone who aspires to keep a more minimal home, I’m always looking for ways to read more books without necessarily having to buy more books. I was challenged by a friend to think of some creative ways to share books besides the obvious place – the library. (I’ll issue my apology in advance. I’m going to have to cheat and still talk about the library because I just can’t help myself.) Here are my five tips to help inspire you to share your books.
Ok, so the first time I saw a little free library, I thought it was the coolest thing since… well, the library. So, if you haven’t heard of them by now, the free little libraries are little cabinets that people can put books in and it’s basically a self-run take a book, share a book type of system. I will add books that I bought and don’t think I will read again. This is the part where people say… but I don’t want to get rid of my books! Trust me. I know how hard it is to part with books, but if you are not going to read it again, wouldn’t you rather set it free into the world to bless someone else rather than have it sit on your shelf and collect dust for the next twenty years.
I also will donate any books from my son’s shelves that he doesn’t want to keep. He is always gifted quite a few books for Christmas and his birthday. While he enjoys them all, there are typically a few that didn’t resonate enough for him to want to keep them. Donating some books to the little free library helps teach him to share with others. You can check out their Instagram account at @littlefreelibrary to see if there is a location near you.
Let’s talk about book sharing with friends. So, as I’m sitting here typing this we are in week three of “stay at home orders” due to the coronavirus. My fellow neighborhood reading addict (shameless plug for the awesome @whaterinsreadingnow) and I weren’t about to let that slow us down. We have continued to share books by spraying them with disinfectant and then placing them in a bag on the other person’s porch. We then walk to the street and send a text that the books are on their porch ready for pick up. Sharing books with each other has helped us discover new authors and be able to read more books than we would be able to purchase individually. If you are curious as to what books we have been sharing you can check them out here
Another option is to connect with fellow readers on your neighborhood Facebook page. You could post that you are interested in doing a book swap and are looking for others to join. There are also several book swap groups on Facebook. Who knows, you might just make some amazing friends across the country!
When you read a book, you hold another’s mind in your hands. -James Burke
If you don’t have anyone close by that is interested in sharing books, try Bookstagram! There are multiple hashtags for book swaps. One worth checking out is #busymamabookswap. They have been happily swapping books for over a year and have quite a few fun challenges/themes each month. I love the bookstagram community so much! I have made lots of awesome friends since I have joined.
Don’t forget! If you can’t find what you are looking for, make it yourself. You can always start your own sharing group with friends. Check with your local bookstores. Many are willing to let you host book swaps to help bring in business. If you don’t have a local bookstore nearby, you could always try your local library or a coffee house. I’m sure they would be happy to let you use a room to share books!
Have you tried any of these book-sharing methods? Are there any I haven’t mentioned that you participate in? With our human interaction looking a little bit different these days, I think we can find some new and creative ways to keep sharing books. Please feel free to leave me a comment below. I love to chat!