How to Host a Neighborhood Book Swap
Do you get the eye roll when you ask your kids to go read? Do they whine because they’ve read the books in your home library at least twenty times? Do you keep forgetting to go to the library? Are you going to scream if you have to read the same bedtime story one more time? I’ve been there. It’s a struggle. What can you do about it? Well, you could go purchase a whole new home library, but that’s a little out of reach for most of us. The next best thing to do is to host a neighborhood book swap.
What is a Neighborhood Book Swap?
What is a neighborhood book swap? Well, it’s quite simple. You and your neighbors get together and trade books. Then you all go home with a new set of books. Great, right? It’s a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to get new books. The kids love picking out new books!
So How Does a Book Swap Work?
Advertise your book swap.
Let your neighbors know what it is, when to bring the books, and when to pick up the new books. Hand out fliers (free download below), hang fliers on community boards, or text it out to friends in the neighborhood.
2. Collect the books on the planned day.
There are two ways to do this.
1. The really easy way is where everyone brings the books and you collect them. You don’t keep track of anything; they need to remember how many books they brought and pick up that same number of books. This works, but I have found that people will bring 10 picture books and pick up 10 chapter books, so there aren’t enough chapter books for the people who brought chapter books.
2. Print off two colors of Book Bucks (One set on red paper and the other set on blue paper). Those who bring in picture books get one color and those who bring in chapter books get another color. You get one Book Buck for one book. The hardest part is cutting out the Book Bucks, but kids are great helpers. It’s ok if they aren’t cut perfectly. (Free download below.)
3. Lay out all the books on Pick-Up Day.
On the pick-up day, lay all the books out on tables, chairs, or even the dry cement. I’ve found it best to put picture books together and chapter books together. You could put them in bins, but it’s easier to see them if they are laid out.
4. Collect the Book Bucks as people choose their books.
When people have picked out their books, they bring them to you. You collect the Book Bucks and make sure they have the correct number and kind of books.
5. Have fun chatting with neighbors and discussing books.
That’s it! Easy Peasy! If you want to have a treat like popsicles or cookies you may, but it’s not necessary. To make it really easy for later, save the Book Bucks. You could all take turns hosting too–just pass the Book Bucks around.
I hope you have a fun Neighborhood Book Swap and get lots of great, new books! Let me know how it goes!