Free books are the best gift ever.
It made me think: Who wouldn’t want a free book?
Apparently, there’s a lot of people, and this made me sad. I had my second book meetup on April 30, 2017, at a festival. I was in complete shock at how many people didn’t want a free book. To make matters worse, not only did they not want a free book, they admitted that they don’t like to read.
My heart sank because it was something I didn’t want to hear. I brought 300 books that day because I fully anticipated giving away most of them. At my last event, we were running low after 2 hours. At this event, we were there for 6 hours and only gave away 83 books. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still a lot of books. Many of the people who took the books were parents of small children (6 and under).
I asked everyone who walked past my booth if they wanted a free book, and most of them politely declined. A lot of older people said they already had too many books at home, and even when I offered to take some off their hands, they still declined. I’m sorry, but you can never have too many books. Before I had proper storage, I had piles of books all over my house. I never once felt that I had too many books. What surprised me the most were the teenagers who flat out ignored me and kept walking when I asked if they wanted a free book. I was always taught to politely say “no, thank you” if I didn’t want something.
Some kids are shy, but manners are important.
I would say 99% of the people I interact with at these events are supportive of my mobile library. Believe it or not, I’ve had a few naysayers. Now several people have asked me why I’m doing this, and my answer is simple: I love books, I love free stuff, and I love giving away free books. I want to make sure that no one ever has an excuse not to be reading.
One woman asked me the same question, and when I told her why, she said: “Well, why don’t you just donate all these books to the women’s shelter?” I responded that I was attempting to bring the library to the community for all the people who couldn’t go to the library for whatever reason. I know you can’t make everyone happy, but I couldn’t understand how someone can take something so positive and make it negative.
I had another woman ask me, “Well, what do you get out this?” to which I responded, “It warms my heart to see all these young kids get excited about reading. That’s all I care about.”
I understand her perspective. With the way the world is now, no one ever does things just be nice. They always have an ulterior motive. This woman doesn’t realize that not everyone does things for personal gain. I have nothing to gain from this. My great grandmother Mary Lou taught me the importance of kindness and giving. She would give a stranger the shirt off her back even if it’s all she had.
I quit my job in November 2016.
There wasn’t much in my savings. I only had $400 to my name, and I still bought books. I do it because I want to share my love of books with the next generation. These kids don’t know what I have sacrificed to give away these books for free. So, when I say it saddens me that these kids don’t read, it truly does hurt me.
I can’t give up; it just makes what I’m doing that much more important.
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