What is Book Crossing? It’s a free initiative aimed at connecting people through books.Label them, leave them, follow them.Books are given a unique number, passed on to others or left in a public place – otherwise known as releasing into the wild.You receive an email when your book is found. Readers are able to follow their books on a, potentially, world wide journey.My favourite quote captures the spirit of Book Crossing – setting books free is like a modern day message in a bottle.
Book Crossing stickers and post-it notes were purchased from the Book Crossing site and placed on the front of the book to make it more noticeable and hopefully more likely to be caught, they were also covered with contact to make them last longer.
What kind of books should you release and where to find them?Donations of books were sought by the public, books could be donated for the Library to release or the Library would register a book for them to release.Good quality unwanted Library donations were also used.All types of books, fiction and non fiction were chosen if they were in good condition.Older unappealing books were not registered and found a home in our book sale area.
A media release in the local newspaper and on the website explained the scheme and asked for book donations.The Council intranet was used to encourage staff to both donate books and to take part by releasing books.Our enthusiastic Lord Mayor chose a favourite book to release – the Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham - which has since been caught and is continuing its travelling journey.A free book journal widget designed to display recent book activity was placed on the Library website – other widgets and links are also available on the Book Crossing site.
Book Crossing can be a great tool to promote reading and for connecting readers worldwide.It can increase the profile of your Library and showcase the wonderful services and resources provided by Libraries.The journal entry messages may reach a world wide audience and are an ideal opportunity to add valuable Readers Advisory content.Some ideas for added content includea short description of the book, including any awards or reviews, read-a-likes – if you liked this book why not try a similar author or subject,useful links to Readers advisory or Library links, for example Fantastic Fiction, Trove, World Cat, MyLanguage, your Library website etc.
What did we learn from our Book Crossing experience?Local media and Councillors can be very helpful for promotion.Expectations of how may books will be caught can be set too high. You have to keep in mind that books can be caught and re-released many times over many years without the finders making a journal entry and so you may never know what truly happens on a books journey.Getting staff to remember to take a registered book with them on holidays can be difficult.Be more specific about what kind of books should be donated. Smaller, lighter books that look newer are more likely to be picked up by travellers than older heavier books – especially for those flying.Find volunteers to help contact the booksOverall it has been a fun worthwhile adventure with the hope of future messages from our travelling books and we will be continuing to release books into the wild for others to enjoy.
Book crossing by Suzanne Micallef
Book Crossing &Parramatta City Library Lessons learnt and futurepotential for Readers Advisory Parramatta City Library Suzanne Micallef
Lives can be changed through “reading and releasing” an innovative attempt to ‘make the wholesetting books free is being likened to a world a library’modern-day message in a bottle Yahoo.comSan Francisco Chronicle If you love your books, let them go The New York Times
Started in 2001 in the USAOver 1.6 million membersOver 9.5 million registeredtravelling booksSpread over 132 countriesTop 10 Book Crossing Countries USA Germany United Kingdom Netherlands Finland Canada Australia France Portugal Spain the books you read and the people you meet
70 Books were registered to be given to ReadingAmbassadors and staff members to ‘release intothe wild’Books were left in cafes, trains, domestic andinternational airports12 have been officially ‘caught’, about 19% ofthose released (62) which is just under theaverage of 20-25%
Book Crossing stickers and post –it notes were purchased for display on the front of the book to make the book more likely to be ‘caught’ Join Parramatta City Library in celebratingAustralia’s National Year of Reading 2012 bypassing on this free donated book to friends or by leaving it in a public place. Track its journey in the Library or online @ www.parracity.nsw.gov.au
Donations of books were sought by the public, books could bedonated for the Library to release or the Library would registera book for them to releaseGood quality unwanted Library donationswere usedAll types of books, fiction and non fiction,were chosen if they were in good condition –older unappealing books were not registeredand found a home in our book sale area
Media release in the local newspaper and on the website– explained the scheme and asked for book donationsBulletin Board posts on the Council Intranet to encourage to both donatebooks and to take part by releasing a registered bookThe Lord Mayor was very enthusiastic about the idea and choose torelease a favourite book, ‘The Kraken Wakes’ by John WyndhamFree book journal widget designed to display recent book activity was placedon the Library website – other widgets and links are also available on theBook Crossing site.
Great tool to promote reading and connecting readers worldwideIncrease the profile of your library and of the services and resources provided byLibrariesJournal entries present an ideal opportunity to add value with RA content, ideas include – Short description of the book, including any awards or reviews If you liked this book why not try… (read-alikes) Useful links to RA/Library resources eg. Fantastic Fiction, Good Reads, Trove, World Cat, MyLanguage, your Library website etc.
Local media and Councillors can be helpful in promoting the schemeExpectations of how many books will be ‘caught’ can be set too highGetting staff to remember to take a registered book with them onholidays can be difficultBe more specific about what kind of books should be donated for the schemeFind volunteers to help contact the books Overall a fun, worthwhile adventure with the hope of future messages from our travelling books and we will be continuing to release books into the wild for others to enjoy
Book Crossing – www.bookcrossing.com Suzanne Micallef Information Access Librarian Parramatta City Library 9806 5176 firstname.lastname@example.org