Sunday, October 15, 2006

... A Treasure Hunt

"I want to be a Librarian!" I would proudly proclaim to any adult who asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never understood why they would chuckle in surprise. I mean, who doesn't love the smell of books or the sound of the binding cracking when you open up an old treasure. Who wouldn't want to perfect the dewey decimal system and have full time access to endless rows of these jewels. At the time I didn't know of any other profession that surrounded itself with my beloved books. I frequented our small town library and admired it's sole librarian. Lois and I were on first name terms and she always had a recommendation for me. As it turns out, I didn't end up in a book loving profession but I did find a new way love books.

bookcrossing: n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise. (Concise Oxford English Dictionary)

How does it work? Well... Let's start with a brand new book. Say I read it, love it, want it to travel. I simply log it into Bookcrossing.com which gives it an original id number. I then make my plans to release it into the wild (leave it at Starbucks at 9pm that night). I have the option to type a few sentences about how I liked the book and/or tell the system of the impending drop off time and location. If I do decide to inform others of the books release, the tireless book robot will send an email out to those that have requested to be notified of books in the wild in their area.

So, said book is sitting on the table at Starbucks with a note attached to it saying "I'm not lost. I'm traveling. Read me." How cute is that?! Anyhow, someone is bound to capture it, read it, make notes, and drop it off. The cycle continues. A few months later, I can go onto bookcrossing, enter the unique book id number and see just how far my book has traveled and see how others have enjoyed reading it. Of course, another option is to search out books in the wild and see where they have been.

The website calls itself "The Worlds Biggest Free Bookclub" and I think it's a wonderfully fun idea. Currently there are over 3.4 Million Books in the wild and over half a million members in over 45 different countries. I try to release my books in airports or other countries to see just how far they go. It's slightly reminiscent of the balloon release in grade school. You know, the one where you attach your name and address to a helium balloon and ask it's finder to write a letter to you to see how far it's gone. It's also a neat way to hear of new books and see what others thought of your books. All in all... it's just plan fun.

"Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are." John Milton

So read and release folks... read and release...

5 comments:

Ashleigh said...

What an absolutely fun idea! I love it. Maybe I'll have to look into doing this too!

Bethany said...

I have heard of that before but never knew they had a computer tracking that is really cool.

Bethany said...

Ummm Michelle....further proof you need to move to Cali...we have the most books circulating in the US. HEE HEE

Charissa said...

Great idea! You are such a wealth of unique information :0) I'll have to check it out.

Danielle said...

Wow, cool idea!