School Library Exchange, a new website that was created to help school libraries in need of books, debuted this past month. According to a December 2010 article in School Library Journal, the website “is all about connecting cash-strapped libraries with parents, publishers, community groups, and corporations—just about anyone willing to donate to a good cause”. School libraries are eligible to register on the site for free. Once verified, school libraries are able to create a wish list of books through Amazon.com. Once donors register with a name and email address, they are then able to find their school library’s profile and wish list on the website and make an online purchase or donation of books to the library. Simon Gornick and Sara Jacobsen launched School Library Exchange in six short months. According to Gornick, “The goals of the site are to fill school libraries with modern, relevant, exciting titles, to build discussion and debate about books among parents and students, and build school libraries as quiet havens for kids to study and learn away from the digital maelstrom.”
School Library Exchange would be a wonderful resource to use to facilitate targeted donations to BPS libraries. Parent groups, local businesses or other potential donors could be easily directed to the school library’s profile and wish list on the School Library Exchange website. Using the wish list feature ensures that school libraries are receiving donations of wanted, useful items. Some ideas for ways to leverage School Library Exchange for targeted donations for your school library include:
- Create a birthday book program where parents or grandparents donate a book to the library in a child’s name. Include a book plate inside the front cover of the book to recognize the donation with a personal message from the donor and/or the student’s name.
- Start a teacher/staff appreciation program where parents/students could donate a book to the library in recognition of a special teacher or staff member. Include a book plate inside the front cover of the book to recognize the teacher/staff member and donating class/student. Promote the program as an alternative to or answer to holiday or end-of-year teacher gifts.
- Celebrate a different curriculum/subject area each month. Create a wish list of materials in that subject area and publicize the information to potential donors.
Promote the school library as a worthy recipient of a donation from student, parent, or civic group fundraisers.
- Approach local businesses with an easy solution for them to support your school library.
These are just a few ideas on how to incorporate School Library Exchange into a donation program at your library. Please share any other ideas that you may have for using School Library Exchange to help build your school library’s collection.