‘How much are the books?’ a young woman asked.
‘They’re free and you can take as many as you like,’ came the reply.
‘Free. Really?’ the woman persisted, as she gazed at the tables loaded with books and the boxes also full of books around the edge of the shelter outside Asda in Hulme, South Manchester.
On a Saturday in March, when members of Manchester Breakfast Rotary Club and Stockport Lamplighter Rotary Club, joined by Rotaract, assembled, we had a collection of somewhere approaching three thousand books for the annual Book Giveaway. March was originally literacy month in the Rotary calendar and also includes International Book Day and from the first, it’s been a venture popular with shoppers.
Books collected throughout the year, are stored in lofts, garages and spare rooms. There are always large numbers of novels but also a wide range of non-fiction books. Unfortunately, we can never have enough children’s books – they disappear very quickly and as the day wears on there are many disappointed children and parents. This year, in six hours, we gave away some two thousand books and although they didn’t have to do so, many people gave a donation for the books they took.
This is not a particularly difficult event to organise and is excellent publicity for Rotary. Our Book Giveaway has the potential to be more than a once a year event and would perhaps enable more members of the public to recycle their books!