How to set up a book swap

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Book swaps can be a great way to share your love of reading and discover exciting new books, and also give children the opportunity to choose a book for themselves that excite them and start to build a lifelong love of reading. Book swaps are also a great way to support and improve literacy levels in the community.

Step 1: Choose a great location

Find a place that is visited by lots of people every day with a good place nearby to sit and enjoy a book. Putting books where people might not be expecting them to be, can be a great way to encourage interaction.

If you're not based in a school, you could try:

  • At work
  • Cafes
  • Doctor and dentist waiting room
  • Places of worship
  • Sports clubs
  • Community venues

Step 2: Find the books

Friends, family members and colleagues are a great people to go when gathering books for your book swap. You might want to reach out to local bookshops or charity shops to see if they have any spare books that they could donate. As more people find out about and use the book swap, the number of books will naturally grow.

Step 3: Get the word out

Let people know about the book swap via friends, family members and colleagues and use social media to spread the word further. Make sure you connect with local community groups to broaden the audience. Who knows – you might inspire more people to do something similar!

Step 4: Enjoy!

Reading books is one of the most pleasurable ways to spend your free time, so once you’ve set up your book swap, make sure you enjoy its benefits too. You might want to think about introducing new ways for people to engage with the book swap such as encouraging people to write post-it note reviews about the books and displaying them for others to read.