Many of us love books, and I’m sure we all have stories that are near and dear to our hearts, but for a lot of people, reading can seem isolating. And maybe that’s your me time and that’s totally okay. But maybe you’re like me and you want to share that love of reading with the world! Or at least the people you are close with.
Some of the most memorable stories from my teenage years are the ones I got to fangirl over, with my sister. Having someone I could gush about the characters with, made it all the more fun. There are now tons of ways we can share our love of books with others, book blogs being one of them, but these are my top 5 favorites ways, to share my love of books!
1. Barbershop Books
I have always felt that strong reading skills could solve a lot of problems. With strong reading skills, school can be less of a struggle. It builds the foundation for a good education, which leads to better job opportunities and eventually, upward socio-economic mobility. For me, access to education and improved literacy is a way to combat poverty. That’s why organizations that encourage good reading skills from a young age are doing such important work.
One of those organizations is Barbershop Books. Though there are many out there, and I work with my local chapter of Altrusa to promote literacy as well, I wanted to highlight Barbershop books because I love how their way of encouraging reading is to make it a community effort. When we think of tutors, or getting extra help for a child, it can sometimes be ostracizing, or make them feel as if they’re behind or not good enough. By bringing books to barbershops, Barbershop Books makes use of down time for young black boys to help them practice reading, and to practice it with other black men, the people close to home, who they are most likely to look up to. This method of building reading skills and positive bonds within communities is absolutely beautiful.
In the past I have donated money, but you can also sponsor a local barbershop if this is something you would like to bring to your community as well. You can go here for more information.
2. Become a Book Fairy!
One of the best decisions I made this year was to sign up to become a book fairy! Since February, I have been hiding books in my local community, or as I travel, for lucky readers to find. One bartender called it geocaching for books, as he helped me find a spot for ‘Kafka was the Rage” in his bar. The book fairies are a worldwide community of book loving citizens, out to brighten someone’s day, one book at a time.
You don’t just have to hide books. If you want to engage with the book fairy community, find out if there’s one in your area and start searching for books! Subscribe to the Book Fairy Box, for all kinds of book fairy goodies! Or, join the Fairy Book Club on goodreads and read what book fairies all over the world are reading!
The picture above is of my nieces and nephews piling on to my brother for a group hug after some story time on Thanksgiving. From the time they are born, the children in my life always receive books. Picture books1 Board books! Sometimes little box sets of books! I find so much joy in finding books that match the clothes I buy for newborns. As they get older, I love finding books about the things they love. Every holiday, I look forward to getting the kids fun books, for Halloween or Thanksgiving.
As much as I love getting presents, the important part is to actually spend the time reading with kids. I used to love when I would come over, and my niece would run and grab a book, and eagerly hand it to me to read to her. When I first started to venture into taking the kids out on my own, we would go for storytime at the library or Barnes & Noble. I still have a picture from the first book date my niece and I went on. Obviously it ended with a cookie.
Giving kids books they can pile up and collect dust, but when we take the time to read to them, we’re creating memories to pair with some of their favorite stories.
4. Make It An Outing!
Sharing a love of books doesn’t just have to be reading and discussing new books with your book club. It also doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor like going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My family has grown up watching the Harry Potter movies, and it’s something that both those of us that loved the books, and those of us that enjoyed the movies can share. So we decided to do a Harry Potter themed escape the room. Greg loves A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and one of our first dates was to see the play by Re-Think Theatrics, and move through a garden as the play unfolded. I recently went to Improvised Shakespeare with friends on a cool summer night in an amphitheater. We enjoyed our favorite stories together, in a way that didn’t mean discussing the book. If you’re near a major city like NYC, you can easily find themed bars and cafes.
This is also a great way to support local business or artists in your areas as they take classic stories and give them a new twist or a fresh perspective. Get creative and think outside the box! Did reading the Hunger Games make you want to learn archery? Grab a friend and cross it off your bucket list together. Is that book you loved being turned into a movie? Make it a movie date and talk about what you loved, what you hated, what was different and your dream cast! Where was your favorite book set? Could you make it a weekend trip and explore the city yourself?
5. Support Your Local Library
Before there were organizations and non-profits focused on providing access to books. Before there were book fairies leaving spellbinding stories and magical adventures for readers to find; there were libraries.
Libraries are the leader in providing access to books. Libraries are a community staple and they are one of the few places where anyone can come in and benefit from all a library offers without ever needing to spend money. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest uses of tax dollars. Aside from books, storytime, and other children’s programming, libraries provide workshops on various skills the community can benefit from. They provide computers and internet access for people who are trying to get back on their feet, but don’t have the tools they need to apply for jobs, or for the student who needs to finish that paper when their own laptop crashed.
By supporting your local library, you’re making sure that the avid and the occasional readers, the book bloggers and the baby bookworms, all get access to the books they want. Library book sales are my absolute favorite way to indulge in book buying, not just because the books are incredibly cheaper, but because I know that money goes right back into the library, and that library is making books accessible to anyone and everyone who wants to find themselves lost in a story or empowered by a book.
These are just my favorite ways to share my love of books. But I’d love to know yours! Leave it in the comments or send us a tweet to let us know!