Recently at Charlton Station, I discovered a bookshelf full of second-hand books. The man in the ticket office told me to help myself. He said I should think of the books as being like a library, “Take the books you want and return them when you have read them for others to enjoy”. He said if I have any spare books I want to get rid of, then I can leave them on the bookshelf.
I picked up two books: The Hunger Years and The Art Thief. I’m reading them at present. This is not the first time I have come across the informal library. One evening, sheltering in a warm, cosy station waiting room, I discovered a pile of books that were available to peruse and take home. This seems a wonderful way to acquire books and get rid of unwanted ones that are cluttering up your home.
Another way to recycle books is to get involved in Book Crossing. I came across this concept by accident on a train one evening. The woman sitting opposite me, took a book out of her bag and put it on the seat next to her. I pointed out to her that left her book to which she replied, “It is a ‘left book’”. The idea is called Book Crossing and it’s slogan is: label, share and follow. You add a tribute, add a code from Book Crossing and leave it in a public place. The person who finds it can see the book’s journey around the globe. As it can be tracked and put readers in contact with each other, it’s like a modern day message in a bottle.
The aim is to make the world a library. This scheme has expanded in unexpected ways, for example, such as blogs, forums, discussions and annual conventions throughout the world. Books in certain countries are freely available, whereas a friend of mine found books to be a rare commodity when living in Tanzania, as they were expensive. New ways of sharing books can help book lovers get access to their favourite reads.
See website: www.bookcrossing.com