WA Secretary of State Blogs

Washington State Library Community Book Project

Picture of new Community Reads websiteBack in 2008 an idea was born.  Many Washington Libraries were catching on to Nancy Pearl’s brilliant “One Book, Community wide read” idea.  A book was selected each year for the entire community to read, programs were developed around that book and the book would bring the community together for discussions around shared topics.  In preparation for a program libraries would invest in dozens, or sometimes hundreds of copies of a book.  At the end of the year though, they found themselves with more copies of the book than they could use.  Pierce County Library was the first to donate their books to the State Library with the idea that other libraries in the state might have a use for them.  It turned out to be a very popular program and the State Library was the natural hub and distribution point for these book sets.

Fast forward ten years and more than 10,000 books have passed through our hands, enabling small public and school libraries around the state to grow their collections.  The program is very popular but as it has grown, the time and effort to maintain it has also grown.  If you have requested books from the project you will understand the effort that goes into the process.  So we decided to try a new way to make it easier for you and for us.

Enter the new website “Washington State Library Community Book Project”.  If you’ve ever placed an online order it will be straightforward.  Think of it like a *FREE* bookstore.  Books will still be distributed on a first come/first serve basis however the “store” has inventory control.  You can see how many copies there are left before you place an order.  If there are not enough for your purpose you can simply pass.  Furthermore rather than releasing a list of titles all at once we are now able to add books to the “store” as they arrive.  We hope that this will make it easier on all parties and that getting these books into the hands of Washington Libraries will be able to happen that much faster. So bookmark the page, mark your calendars and check back often.

Does your library have book club or Community Reads book collections you no longer need?  We’d love to help you share them with other Washington Libraries.  Please contact Leanna Hammond  [email protected]  to find out how.

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