World Book Day: Here are 5 ways to spread book love and share stories


The Little Free Library from the US has been an inspiration to start your own community book-sharing box. But you can also initiate your own version of this community book project. Photo: Filepic

We all know people who enjoy picking up a book and spending some quality time alone.

Maybe this is your little corner of magic too, one where you relish in being transported into another world and lose yourself in the characters and stories written in the pages of the book.

But a love for books isn’t limited to just solo reading; a passion for literature can also be ignited in a community setting and getting people of all ages and walks of life, involved.

With this year’s pandemic era World Book Day theme being to “share a story”, we look at some ways books, stories and a love for reading can be nurtured, shared and enjoyed by all.

New perspectives

Book clubs or reading groups don’t just promote a love of literature, they also provide a space to meet new people and make new friends. How does it work? A group draws up a reading list, and then after reading each book, meets to have a discussion on what they just read. You can exchange ideas with each other, gain new perspectives and talk about your love for books and stories. The pandemic has shifted most of these gatherings online, so you might want to check with your local bookshop on the next book club meet.

Pay it forward

The first Little Free Library book-sharing box was built in 2009 in Wisconsin in the United States. It now has a presence in over 100 countries around the world, with each registered Little Free Library having a steward to keep an eye on things. With many Little Free Library set-ups, you don’t necessarily need to leave a book to take one from the box, but the idea is when you can afford to spare any books, you should pay it forward then. You can drop off your books at the same Little Free Library, or any others in your area or beyond. In Malaysia, there are several Little Free Libraries scattered across the country.

Hidden gems

It is not just for clothes and furniture; pre-loved books are also in vogue at many flea markets and bazaars around town. If you are keen on getting your hands on old or rare editions, you might just have some luck at these places. Of course, as we are in the midst of a pandemic, it will be a while before such events get back into full swing. But do keep a look out for mini used book events.

Vintage book markets and events such as the Book Street series in Petaling Jaya have been on hold since the pandemic hit last year. But once the Covid-19 situation improves in the country, you can look forward to see them making an on-site return. Photo: Filepic Vintage book markets and events such as the Book Street series in Petaling Jaya have been on hold since the pandemic hit last year. But once the Covid-19 situation improves in the country, you can look forward to see them making an on-site return. Photo: Filepic

One for one

Book swaps and exchanges have been getting more popular in recent years. Basically, you bring one of your books to include in the pool, and take another title home. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so if you have books at home that are collecting dust in a corner for whatever reason – an extra copy, an unwanted gift, you have read it so many times that you know it by heart – perhaps you can set it free.

Shoppers can grab a book off the shelves of BukuHub - a book swap station - and return them when they have finish reading it. Even better, you can start your own book swap initiative. Photo: Filepic Shoppers can grab a book off the shelves of BukuHub - a book swap station - and return them when they have finish reading it. Even better, you can start your own book swap initiative. Photo: Filepic

Go mobile

Mobile libraries bring the books to you – or rather, to a location near you. Some brick-and-mortar libraries offer this as an extension of their services, offering books to communities who might not have a physical library near them or simply find it difficult to access one. All over the world, people are finding creative ways to set up mobile libraries. Many are vans and trucks, but we have also heard of boat and bike mobile libraries!

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