Sunday, May 7, 2017

Closing the access-to-books gap: A suggestion

Sent to the New York Times.
Re: "Libraries are fining children who can't afford to be without books." May 5)

When library books are overdue, others lose access to them. If we can increase the supply of books, it will reduce this problem.

I am a member of Bookmooch, a book swap organization.  Members post titles of books they want to give away. When another member claims your book, you send the book to the person and pay the postage, and earn one point. You can then use this point to claim somebody else’s book, and get books you want for only the cost of postage. If you earn more points than you can use, you can donate them to one of charities listed by Bookmooch, which includes public and school libraries.

I have estimated that if Bookmooch had 2.5 million active members who donated just a few of their extra points each year, libraries could get about a million free books a year, and have their choice of any of the half million books listed on

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

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