Yesterday, volunteers around the country gave away a half-million books as part of World Book Night. As I told you last week, I picked up 20 copies of A Prayer for Owen Meany at Elliott Bay Book Company to distribute as I wanted. Slog commenters had a ton of great suggestions about where I should drop the books off. Here's what I did with them:
Lots of folks suggested that I bring the books to a hospital, but Slog commenter kstar suggested the VA hospital on Beacon Hill, which felt like the right call to me. When I saw how empty the free book cart at the VA hospital was, I decided they'd get half of my twenty copies. From there, I took the light rail downtown and stopped by Left Bank Books to donate five copies to Books to Prisoners, which Slog commenters Baby Blue and TVDinner suggested. And because Slog commenter Vince made such a great case for giving to the homeless, the final copies went to Urban Rest Stop, which is a great local cause that I have some personal experience with. After I dropped the last five copies off, the empty backpack was a real surprise.
I wish I had more books to give away. I didn't give any copies to schools, for example. (Based on my talks with other World Book Night volunteers, it sounded like local schools were first on many lists.) Baby Blue's other idea—the waiting room at the Juvenile Detention Center on 12th and Alder—was a particularly good suggestion I wished I'd been able to follow. The whole experience really made me realize how many great charities in Seattle could use your books on any given day: The next time you're moving and trying to get rid of a few boxes of books, I'd urge you to think about all the empty shelves at nonprofits all around town. Dropping books off couldn't be any easier, and just a few copies will go a long way.