What do you do with the books that you no longer want—the ones that are lying around your room and taking up shelf space? Do you sell them? Give them to friends? Perhapts you can give them away for a good cause—and now that PSU has partnered with Better World Books to create book donation sites around campus, this is easier than ever.
Slightly better than the current world books
What do you do with the books that you no longer want—the ones that are lying around your room and taking up shelf space? Do you sell them? Give them to friends? Perhaps you can give them away for a good cause—and now that PSU has partnered with Better World Books to create book donation sites around campus, this is easier than ever.
Better World Books started in 2002 as an attempt by three recent college graduates to use donated books to benefit an after-school learning program in South Bend, Ind. This soon developed into something much larger and went on to improve the lives of many children.
One of Better World Books’ claims to fame is the large amount of books that would have been thrown away, had the previous owner not stumbled upon a donation bin. While Better World Books has, through its many book drives, helped improve the lives of children around the world, an organization that has a focus other than book donations may have better achieved this goal by now.
Partners of Better World Books include Books For Africa, which is the largest shipper of donated textbooks to Africa; Room to Read, which publishes children’s books in local languages, builds schools and supports scholarships for young girls; the National Center for Family Literacy, which strives to improve the literacy of disadvantaged families; and Worldfund, which improves education for impoverished children in South America.
Donated books are sold on the Better World Books website to help fund their partner organizations. The books that do not get sold are donated to their partner organizations, and any books that absolutely cannot be resold or reused are recycled.
Though Better World Books runs book drives on many campuses and has been successful in the past several years, its PSU bins remain relatively empty. The three bins on campus are located in Ondine, Broadway and the Millar Library.
Ondine must be full of either book-hoarders or people who don’t read much, because the Ondine lobby’s bin is more full of junk mail than books. The only three books I have ever seen in the bin are the ones I placed in it, and two of them have since been swiped, presumably by my fellow students.
As one would guess, the bin located in the library is faring much better, though some have been mistaking it for a library drop-off box. There are, however, at least 10 books in this bin, and nobody appears to have taken the donated books of their fellow library-goers for themselves.
Better World Books aims to improve literacy around the world, because improving literacy can improve many other aspects of life. People living in poverty can be less impoverished if they became literate, and, according to Better World Books, disease prevention will be improved through literacy as well. There are nearly 800 million illiterate people in the world, and those people have fewer chances.
What Better World Books and its partners are doing is an honorable cause. However, there are much better ways to raise money than by focusing on book donations, especially considering that they are barely getting anything out of PSU.
They also claim to have had a good impact on the environment by saving tons of books from landfills. However, there is no way to know for sure how many tons of books of what they received would indeed have gone to landfills.
Their cause is noble, and they have helped many, but could Better World Books do better? If the other 1,800 colleges and universities collecting books are collecting the meager amount that PSU is, then yes.
Better World Books claims it has raised $10 million, which seems like a lot before one takes into account the fact that it has been in business for nearly 10 years. Though Better World Books must have grown since the beginning, $10 million is a mere drop of water in a lake.
While Better World Books is doing a wonderful thing by helping improve literacy around the world, it is a good thing that library systems, and not just universities, participate in book drives, or the organization would not be doing as well.
If you have books that Powell’s didn’t want or textbooks that you can’t sell at the end of the term, drop them in one of the donation boxes, because Better World Books certainly needs them.
I appreciated seeing Kat Boyce’s article regarding Better World Books and their efforts to collect and distribute books abroad.
As a Peace Corps Volunteers in the Republic of the Philippines many years ago I was contacted by a non-profit, like a Better World Books, and subsequently served as their agent on the ground for the receipt and delivery of the books they wished to donate to a school in a small, quite remote community best accessed from my village. As I worked with the RP-DNR at the time I did not actually have just then any direct experience with the local schools.
When I arrived with a friend with the boxes we could not help but notice that there were absolutely no books at all in this particular school. The shipment, then, became the first actual text books and general reading materials this school had ever received and stocked. To this day I cannot help recall just how pleased the teachers were and how truly excited the kids were to have these books.
The important first step in this chain is to donate your unused books. That small step makes all the difference in the world!