How will you support International Book Giving Day?

14th February 2013 offers not only the opportunity to line the pockets of card companies with absolutely no capacity for commissioning good romantic verse – it’s also International Book Giving Day. This year, the organisers – determined to promote books around the world – are calling on book lovers to say how they’ll support it.

The options are:

1. Give a Book to a Friend or Relative

Celebrate International Book Giving Day by giving a child a new, used or borrowed book.

2. Leave a Book in a Waiting Room or Lobby

Choose a waiting room where kids are stuck waiting and there are few to no good books available. Purchase a good book, and deposit your book covertly or overtly in your waiting room of choice. The goal here is to spread the love of reading to kids, so choose a fun book, nothing controversial.

3. Donate a Book

Wrap up a box of children’s books that your kids have outgrown and get them in the hands of children who could really use a book or two. Donate your books to your local second hand store, library, children’s hospital, or shelter. Alternatively, donate your books to an organization working internationally to get books in the hands of kids, such as Books for Africa.

International Book Giving Day is a volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books, noting that most children in developing countries do not own books; in the United Kingdom, one-third of children do not own books; and in the United States, two-thirds of children living in poverty do not own books.

As well as the ideas for giving books away above, the organisers of International Book Giving Day, whose focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on 14th February, encourage people to support the work of nonprofit organizations (i.e. charities) that work year round to give books to children, such as Room to Read, Books for Africa, Book Aid International, The Book Bus, Indigenous Literacy Foundation and Pratham Books.

“We are not able to evaluate nonprofit organizations (i.e. charities) to ensure that they will put your money to good use,” they point out on their web site. “The fact that organizations are listed on our website is not an endorsement.

In 2012, International Book Giving Day was celebrated by people in Australia, Canada, South Africa, France, India, Ireland, Japan, the Phillippines, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US.

“We hope that people around the world will think about the best ways to help children in need in their communities and that they will celebrate International Book Giving Day in ways that make sense to them.”

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