By Ann Daniels

Everybody knows what April 1 is, but if you love to read, perhaps you were more excited for another date this month. April 23 was World Book Night, when tens of thousands of people go out into their communities to give books to people they know and to total strangers, just to “spread the love of reading, person to person.”

At the East Bay Children’s Book Project, we give away books throughout the year (though we’re often closed during school holidays – don’t forget to check our calendar before you visit us!). We’ve given away over one million books, and most of those books were donated to us. In honor of this month’s worldwide celebration of reading and of giving away books, we’d like to ask you to help us recognize and thank some of our wonderful local book givers – generous local people and organizations whose donations of new and gently used books keep our shelves stocked week after week and year after year, so that we in turn can spread the love of reading.

Half Price Books  gives us books nearly every week – nearly half a million books over the years. It’s hard even to imagine that quantity of books. It’s also hard to imagine how we could possibly have reached as many people as we have without their help. In fact, quite a few of the East Bay’s fabulous independent bookstores have been tremendously supportive, giving us books and/or hosting our donation bins (on which more in just a moment), including Books Inc. in Berkeley and Alameda and Diesel Books  and A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland. We’ve also received books from Emeryville’s Developmental Studies Center, www.devstu.org.

Local authors and their publishers have also been wonderful book givers. Just this past year we have given away caseloads of beautiful picture books donated by Shirin Yim Bridges and Natasha Yim and Mac Barnett, who also attended our October 2013 Million Book Event. Author/illustrator Stacey Schuett became our latest author donor this spring.

And those are just the professionals of the book world. Our community is full of people, businesses and organizations that help us provide books to children in need. Houses of worship, cafes, bookstores and other retail merchants, and doctors’ offices all over the East Bay host our purple and white donation bins, like Dr. David Johnson of Alameda, who gives his dental patients “points” for dropping off books for us, and has given us over 18,000 books. That’s enough to give an average elementary school one book per child per month for four years! Schools, families, and businesses run book drives for us, like Martial Hearts in San Ramon, which conducts an annual book drive on our behalf. And hundreds of individuals – parents, children, grandparents, retired teachers, you name it – drop off books in our donation bins and at our location.

One of our book donors could very well be you. If you’ve given us books, we thank you. You have helped us bring over a million books to children in need. If you’d like to give us books, we welcome your donations! Please check our website at http://www.eastbaychildrensbookproject.org/donate-now/ for our donation guidelines and to find a donation location near you. (Please note that our donation bins are always indoors, are purple and white, and are clearly marked with our name.) Or if you’d like to host a donation bin for us, that information is on our website, too. If you want to drop books off at the Book Project, please check the website to see the days/times we are open.

Find out how good it feels to be a book giver. It’s a great habit to get into!

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland.
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