Have You Ever Built A Library?

With June’s theme being about Selfless Acts & Helping Others, I’ve been asking myself: how can I positively impact others in the most meaningful way? It’s a big question and one I’m sure many of us face at some point. This is what I came up with:

I want to create a library. Reading books has had a profound impact on my life, and I want to give others that same joy of freedom and discovery, of growth and learning that I have experienced from books.

But building your typical library takes a lot of time, money, and human capital, so…what’s a new way of creating a library?

Step 1: choose one of your favorite books you’ve read.

For me that was Open, an autobiography by Andre Agassi. I’ve read it at least three times.

Step 2: locate and/or obtain that book — if you don’t already possess it, this means you may have to purchase the book from your local bookstore, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble

Step 3: write a letter to the future reader or recipient about what the book means to you and why you selected it to give as a gift.

I chose Open because tennis has been a significant part of my life growing up. Andre Agassi’s story taught me a lot about tennis but even more about overcoming the ups and downs in life. He has a great comeback story and I felt like I was growing up with Andre as I read it.

Step 3.5: In addition to the letter, include a print-out of this document, asking that they take a picture with the book and send the picture to: openworldlibrary@gmail.com and follow the six steps themselves to share their own favorite book. Finally, put the letter and the print out in the book as a bookmark

Step 4: wrap the book in decorative wrapping paper to make it look like a present. Keep it anonymous. You can put a tag on the present if it’s something cleverly generic/vague — ex: To: You From: Me

Step 5: choose a public place to hide your present and leave it for a lucky person to find.

Step 6: Congratulate yourself. You just made someone’s day. You put forth the effort to do what few others are doing…you fostered a connection; you spread an idea, and you made a difference. Thank you.

What would the world look like if everyone shared their favorite book and people walking down the street unexpectedly found a present waiting for them at their feet?

Please help me in creating a new form of library.

Get the print-out to do this yourself here.

Questions to consider:

  • Have you ever been walking down the street and unexpectedly found a present waiting for you at your feet? If you haven’t, how do you think you’d react? Would you be unsure whether or not to take it?
  • What is your favorite book?
  • Will you share it with someone else as an anonymous gift?

Originally published at www.awesomeinitiative.org on June 29, 2015.

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