11 September 2020

Share the Love

Always remember. Never forget.
 ~ September 11, 2001 ~


Hi. My name is Kristin Kisska, and I am a book-aholic.

By book-aholic, I mean that I love all things bookish: shopping for books, the smell of books, the heft of a book in my hands, the satisfying turn--or swipe--of a page to start one-more-chapter-before-I-go-to-bed kind of books.

By design, I don't even know how many books I have in my possession. I have three different to-be-read piles all triaged by the amount of guilt I'd quash if I read them before any others, a collection that I keep proudly displayed of authors I've met, and my signed books. And then there's the pile of books that have been passed along to me. Sure, I also have an e-reader loaded with  good, unread content vying for my attention, but there's something special about a stack of paper ready to transport me to another world.

But my biggest (and growing!) piles by far are the books I've already read. My bookshelves would agree as they groan with each new addition squeezed onto the double- and triple-stacked mounds and even crammed over top, too.

Normally, when my piles take up too much of my floor's real estate, I'll haul a box of books over to my local library to donate so that they can sell them in their next fundraiser. But--no surprise--things aren't exactly normal these days.  My library has been closed these past six months due to the pandemic, and even though they are offering limited access to their collection, they are not accepting donations.

What's a book-aholic to do now that I have extra time to read?

Option A. Let my book piles invade every nook and spare corner of my home in a manner that would inspire Marie Kondo to host a decluttering intervention.

Option B. Pack up my books in shopping bags, then ding-dong-ditch them on my quarantining neighbors' front steps. They need entertainment too, right?

*** Or, better yet  ***

Option C. Drop my already-read (and sanitized!) books off at a Little Free Library.  Why?  Glad you asked.

In most areas of the United States, local libraries and schools are closed, and way-too-many people are experiencing financial hardships from layoffs and/or reduced income. Purchasing books is a luxury many in our communities may not be able to indulge in for the foreseeable future. People of all ages still appreciate entertainment. What better way to spend free hours than in a good, time-treasured paperback.

Share the love. Share the adventure.

If you loved a particular book you plan to donate, add a sticky note to the cover saying why. Even if you didn't enjoy the book and could barely eke through the first few chapters before giving up, it could become someone else's favorite read.

In case you haven't already noticed these dollhouse-looking structures planted in neighborhoods and school grounds, you may be surprised how many are nearby your space.  Here is a link to the Little Free Library sharing box map: https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/ . Especially if you are donating books during the pandemic, please follow the CDC's sharing guidelines, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html .

But what if you live in an area without a Little Free Library nearby? You can open one yourself.  Instructions are on their website. Or you can take a page from best selling author, Michelle Gable's playbook and host your own temporary free bookshop right in your own front yard.  PS - Dog not included.

Are you a crime or mystery author? Use your local Little Free Library network to increase your readership. If you write and have extra copies on hand of your novels or anthologies, consider strategically placing one or more in your neighborhood and share the news on social media, like author Tessa Wegert did. Include a bookmark with your website, or even a hashtag. A few fresh reviews, photos of your book in the wild, and the publicity may be just the boost your platform could use while in-person book events are discouraged.

What do you do with your already-read or extra books?

PS ~ Let's be social:


  1. For the past several months I've been supplying books to four Little Free Libraries I've found near me—and I still have a large box of books in the back of my SUV awaiting relocation. For whatever reason, three of the LFLs have minimal turnover, so there's only room to add a couple of books each visit. The fourth has quite high turnover, and I leave as many as ten books each visit.

    I had to so something. I had all of my bookshelves filled and several chest-high stacks of books in my office, crowding me out of what should be my favorite place. So, with time on my hands during this pandemic, I went on a cleaning and organizing binge. All the books on the floor were part of my TBR pile, and I read the first page of each one before deciding whether to keep it or donate it. That was a quick lesson in the value of a strong opening because most of the books went in the donate pile based on their opening page.

    Anyhow, I hope they are bringing joy to readers who discover them in the LFLs where I've left them.

  2. I donate mine to local libraries and used book stores - and also to friends. And I love the little free libraries!

  3. Personally, I thought Tessa's idea of donating not just used books, but copies of an author's backlist, was inventive--guerrilla marketing at its finest!

  4. I donate mine to my local library. Because a writers' critique group meets there,the library has a "Writer's Room." All donated books pertaining to writing are kept there. There's also a once a year book sale where other donated books are sold. This is where "my already read books" and one or two of my own books are donated. There aren't any LFLs near me, so maybe I should start one.

  5. Back in our impecunious college days, excess books helped make excellent furniture. Pile books and add a board, poof! Instant bookshelf… made of books. Make four piles and add half a sheet of plywood, poof! Convenient coffee table.

    Like you, I've donated once the house filled and then the garage. I've long heard about 'microlibraries', but I've never encountered one.


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