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.

Join the Awesome Initiative’s exclusive mailing list!

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.