Did you hide a book today? I did!
I hid this lovely book somewhere in downtown Rochester. It didn’t take long for someone to find it and pick it up. Where did YOU hide books today, or did you find a book?
Goodreads, that corner of the internet occupied by Readers, turns 10 years old this year. To celebrate, they have partnered with the Book Fairies to create Hide a Book Day, scheduled for September 18. What is Hide a Book Day? Literally what it says – you pick a book you really love and leave it somewhere in public for someone else to find and enjoy.
I found out about this whole Goodreads/Book Fairies partnership too late to order the stickers they are recommending you put on the books, but really, the stickers aren’t necessary. Just write a personal note on the inside of the book and leave it. Someone picks it up and starts reading. Bam! Same result.
The Book Fairies are based in the U.K. and are probably best known for their most famous “Fairy” – Hermione Granger herself, Emma Watson. She has hidden copies of the books discussed in her book club, Our Shared Shelf, and is a self-proclaimed Reader.
Hide a Book Day reminds me a bit of World Book Night, which used to be celebrated on April 23. We in Rochester participated in that a couple years in a row and had a blast handing out free books to people all over the area. The good will that activity generated was immeasurable.
If you live in the Rochester area, you know we have a problem with literacy. Local newspaper columnist Erica Bryant wrote about Rochester’s reading crisis just a few days ago, positing that solving our literacy issue would go a long way towards affecting the other issues that go hand in hand with illiteracy – unemployment, poverty, and crime.
How do we, as a community, tackle this issue? It’s not through another task force, initiative, or blue ribbon panel. It’s grassroots. It’s Readers. It’s you and me, talking to the community about books, giving books away, helping people learn to read. If you want to make a difference in our community, try some of these actions:
- Go see Bob Mahar at Literacy Volunteers and sign up to be a tutor and actually help someone learn to read.
- Volunteer at a school or daycare and read to kids a couple times a week.
- Model your own reading behavior whenever you can. Talk about what you’re reading.
- Always carry a book with you and be willing to give it away or leave it somewhere for someone else to enjoy.
- Organize a book drive to collect new and gently used books for schools and libraries to give away.
- Start a Little Free Library in your neighborhood.
- Wear Reader gear as often as possible. Try BookRiot, Out of Print, and Bas Bleu for ideas. Identify yourself as a Reader with a capital R.
Finally, on September 18, Hide A Book! Hide dozens of books! Share the love…our community will thank you!