Why you should host an ILF book swap

Do you fancy a virtual visit from Australian author Andy Griffiths?

The Great Book Swap is an effortless way to get books into the hands of readers while also raising funds for remote Communities. The concept is simple – invite your community to exchange a book in return for a donation.

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Author Andy Griffiths, Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s (ILF) Lifetime Ambassador, said, “The Great Book Swap is a really fun way to swap one of your pre-loved books for another book that you might end up loving even more. And, even better, for the price of a gold coin, you’ll be raising funds to ensure that kids in remote Communities have the chance to fall in love with books and reading as well.”

Schools, early learning centres, individuals and organisations can hold Great Book Swaps. Last year, more than 500 Book Swaps took place across Australia, raising over $170,000.  This year, the ILF hopes even more schools and organisations will participate with the aim of raising $180,000 to gift 18,000 culturally relevant books to remote Indigenous Communities across Australia.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is a national, community-led charity that works with remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities across Australia. The ILF responds to requests from remote Communities for culturally relevant books and resources as well as programs that help Communities create and publish their stories in their own language.

School Book Swaps

Schools and Early Learning Centres that host a Great Book Swap and submit their funds by the November 1 2024, automatically receive a virtual visit from ILF Lifetime Ambassador Andy Griffiths via a digital livestream with all participating schools.

In addition, any school or ELC that hosts a swap and submits their funds by June 30 2024 will also automatically go in the draw to win a special Early Bird prize, a book pack consisting of ten ILF titles.

ILF Head of Programs Zoe Cassim said: “Great Book Swap is not only a great opportunity to raise money for ILF, but to also connect with each other. Seeing people’s face light up when they start sharing how much they love a book, character or author, and why someone else may like it is so heartwarming. It becomes a shared experience, and that deep connection we so often miss out on.”

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Tips for holding a Book Swap

Visit your local independent grocer and ask for empty fruit trays – they are great for storing books, and they’re strong and easy to carry. Stack the books neatly, spine up. They are more like to sell if people don’t have to move books around to see what is under/behind.

Find a covered space in your school – a shed, an empty classroom – where donated books can be stored. Create signs to help people put their books in the correct box, for example Picture Books – Children’s Non-Fiction – Middle Grade – YA – Adult etc. Volunteers can then further sort the books into crime, cookbooks, fiction, autobiography etc.

Keep an eye out for unusual donations – a brand new book still with price tags attached, a rare edition. Use these as raffle prizes or door prizes.

If you are holding a Book Swap for your entire school community (teachers and parents as well as children), don’t use tiny school desks if you can avoid it. People don’t like bending over. Borrow some taller trestle tables.

Make your layout logical, keeping similar items together.

Have a plan to dispose of unsold items. Consider BOGOF (Buy one get one free) for the last hour of the Swap Meet, or ‘Fill a Box for $5’. Will your local charity shop accept the leftover books?

For donations that might not be in the best condition, consider a ‘Freebie box’ – it won’t affect your income and people might be willing to buy a few extra books if they feel good about getting a freebie.

Registrations are open now and schools will have access to learning resources including fact sheets, maps, videos and classroom activities.

For more information visit The Great Book Swap | Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Shannon Meyerkort

Shannon Meyerkort is a freelance writer and the author of "Brilliant Minds: 30 Dyslexic Heroes Who Changed our World", now available in all good bookstores.

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