A Book on Every Bed” — Amy Dickinson’s idea about a grassroots literacy campaign — really resonated with me.
The day after Dickinson’s “Ask Amy” column appeared in the Dec. 7 IJ, 15 volunteer tutors from Experience Corps Marin came to the Global Book Exchange in Terra Linda to get free books as holiday gifts for the dozens of students they are tutoring in the San Rafael elementary schools. Each tutor left with a bag brimming over with carefully selected books.
As the Global Book Exchange enters its 25th year, it seems like the perfect time to remind everyone about this award-winning nonprofit resource.
Our motto is “where education meets the environment.” We’re not a bookstore, not a library, and we have no paid staff. Volunteers from ages 9 to 90 have given over 25,000 hours to keep the program alive since its inception in 1987.
Think of us as a recycling service that finds homes for lightly-used and some new books: we’ve kept hundreds of tons out of Marin’s landfill. Each year Bay Area schools, libraries and individuals donate to us thousands of books for young people. Our volunteers work hard to sort, shelve and ready them for second lives.
Teachers from Marin and other Bay Area counties visit the Book Exchange regularly to select from its veritable goldmine of textbooks, reference books, workbooks and library books to supplement their classroom materials.
Books not needed in one school can be used in another: Sometimes teachers need textbooks for new students; sometimes they need lower- or higher-level math or reading books for students with special needs. with our books teachers build otherwise prohibitively expensive classroom libraries; and some give books, instead of stickers, to students to take home and keep. Our local schools have saved thousands of dollars by using the Global Book Exchange.
Nonprofit groups have benefited, too — organizations such as the Marin Community Clinics, next Generation Scholars and the Novato Youth Center, to name just a few. Some of the groups we work with get books into the hands of children who may never before have owned a book.
The many volumes brought to us every year cannot all be used within our local community. not a problem: the Global Book Exchange has spearheaded shipments of more than 1 million books to disadvantaged children in U.S. disaster areas and in over 40 countries around the world.
We couldn’t do any of this without our generous community partners.
Over the years we’ve had space in which to operate, thanks to Seagate Properties, New Hamilton Partners and the Novato City Council. Recent support has come from Autodesk, Marin Sanitary, McLeran Roofing, individual donors and from Marin County Rotary clubs. in fact, those Experience Corps tutors who came in last week got those books free thanks to a sponsorship from the Marin Evening Rotary Club. Many thanks, too, to the Rotary clubs of Novato Sunrise, Terra Linda, Marin Sunrise, Tiburon-Belvedere and Tiburon Sunset.
Please help us spread the word.
Teachers, if you haven’t already visited us, come see the extraordinary collection of books we have for you and your students. Grandparents, moms and dads, bring in your kids.
Choose books — just a few, or by the bag or boxful — and make a small donation to help support the work of this great grassroots literacy project.
If you don’t need books but want to help, come in to see us — to volunteer or to donate, or to get a gift certificate for your favorite teacher or family with children.
You can also mail a donation to our office at 664 Hilary Drive, Tiburon 94920. Your support is mightily needed and appreciated.
Marilyn Nemzer of Tiburon is the director of the Global Book Exchange in Terra Linda. Visit bookexchangemarin.org or for more information.