From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Accio Books!

Spring is in the air. (Well, only sometimes for us here at Fiction Flurry, because Ohio can't make up its weather-related mind.) And, for some people, spring means it's time for spring cleaning. To be honest, I don't do spring cleaning, because I'm the kind of person who is happier with piles of junk all over the place. But more power to those of you who DO participate in the spring cleaning ritual.

If you do the spring cleaning thing, I have a suggestion of something you can do to clear out some of that clutter on your bookshelves. Yes, you. I know you have cluttered bookshelves, because you're a reader. And as readers, we tend to have too many books and not enough space to put them.

If, as you're doing your spring cleaning, you come across a bunch of books that you can't remember why you bought in the first place, or that you or your kids have grown out of and intend never to read again, or whatever the case may be...stop! Don't throw them out! How about you donate them? Hmmm? Crazy idea? I beg to differ.

In the limited free time I have between the day-job-working and the how-can-I-possibly-revise-this-more-but-clearly-I-can novel writing and the oh-my-God-Dublin-Irish-Festival-is-in-five-months-will-we-possibly-be-ready Irish dancing, I also have a volunteer job with the pure awesome that is a nonprofit organization called the Harry Potter Alliance. I get to write copy and edit copy and spend my free time talking to people as nerdy as me, which is great. My team is a bunch of English literary geeks.

And right now HPA is running an annual campaign that was MADE for literary geeks.

In true Harry Potter spirit, the campaign is called Accio Books! Never heard of it? That's quite alright. I shall elaborate.

The short version is that Accio Books! is a book drive. HPA wants people to donate their gently used books to communities or organizations that have a need of them. And, while people are certainly encouraged to donate to local organizations, HPA also selects a partner group so books get sent to people who really need them. In 2009, the partner group was Agohozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda. In 2010, half the books were distributed to communities in need in the Mississippi Delta.

This year is particularly exciting--HPA is, literally, building a library for the Bedford-Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School in Brooklyn, NY. They opened in 2010 and they don't have a library yet, which is nothing short of tragic, in my opinion. Last weekend, HPA worked with Borders for a fundraising drive to buy the school shelves. But now it's all down to the books that people will donate.

The library is for K-5, so people are being urged to donate books that fall into that age group. Picture books, early readers, the younger side of middle grade. Non-fiction, fiction. Any and all topics. If it's something YOU read when in elementary school, then these kids need it!

Now, there may be some of you who are like me and can't imagine parting with any of your books, even if you haven't read them in years. I hear ya. It's something we'll probably regret in five years when we're drowning under piles of books, but I'm with you on that one. So here's what I've been doing. I've been buying books second-hand or on sale. I bought several books during the Borders Days fundraiser last weekend that I had shipped directly to the school. I've been taking a little too much advantage of my local Borders going out of business and hitting up the liquidation sales. And all those books that I've been collecting over the last few weeks...they're going to be sent off to Bedford-Stuyvesant in the next week or so. I encourage you all to do the same. You can find the school's address here.

And once you send some books off to Bedford-Stuyvesant, enter the number of books you donated on the form at the bottom of this page. This will help the HPA keep track of the donation numbers and you can give your "points" to whichever house you want to support in the House Cup. (In case you're wondering, I've been giving my points to Gryffindor!)

So help out and donate books! Help HPA build a library! Because if there's one timeless thing we can pass along to these kids, it's the gift of a story.

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