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corner corner Our BookCrossing For LUCIA challenge

Or How BookCrossers All Over the World Raised Money and Had Fun

by LyzzyBee
October 21, 2009

Having seen other BookCrossers devote release challenges to particular charities, I decided to try a new way of helping raise awareness and (hopefully) funds for my favourite charity, LUCIA. LUCIA (Life Uplifted by Change In Africa) is a small charity, run by people I work with, that supports women and girls in Ethiopia. I’ve been supporting LUCIA for a few years, including raising sponsorship at running events, but the number of books I had in the house and the timing of Ethiopian New Year in September suggested an idea to me.

I put the idea to my fellow BookCrossers on the Release Challenges forum in plenty of time – this meant that quite a few of the books were read through the summer, ready for release. I decided on a theme of “Women’s Roles” in the titles of the books (plus the word “Lucia”) as this would hopefully garner some positive and interesting book titles. I wasn’t wrong there! We had hussies, hags and enchantresses galore, as well as mothers, daughters and a lot of geishas... all in the titles, of course!

Innae promised to sponsor 10 cents for every book released during the month and challenged us to reach 1,000 books, so I was quite nervous as September came around, hoping I could get enough people signed up and they with enough books to get close to the target.

We labelled up the books with LUCIA themed labels, including the logo and web address, and added links to the web address in the online release notes. I also set up an online donations page so people could sponsor the books they released and had caught.

I needn’t have worried about the numbers. My fellow BookCrossers stepped up to the plate and released madly, all through the month! In total, 49 BookCrossers from the UK, Europe, Australia, America and Canada put books in OBCZs, gave boxes of books to friends, gave them away at tabletop sales and released them into the wild. I had a lot of fun running around the University Campus where I work, with two colleagues, popping books down all over the place. I think we were all thrilled when I totted up the totals at the end (thanks to Innae for data on titles and roles). For more info on the total number of books, popular titles etc, please see the article I wrote on the LUCIA website.

We had some lovely responses to our campaign. One person who found a book on a bench contacted LUCIA to say she worked in Ethiopian charities herself and offered assistance. Other people who have seen the labelled books donated via the online link or in person. And lucky Wyldetwo found her first book in the wild herself, only to discover it had been released as part of the project!

I had a great time running and participating in this project and seeing other people enjoying doing it, plus we have raised awareness and money for LUCIA. Thanks to all the participants and sponsors! People are already asking whether we’re going to do it next year… and I think the answer will be a resounding YES!

Pictured above: LyzzyBee releases a book for the LUCIA challenge. Photo courtesy of pretty-vision.

Editor's Note: Thank you to all participants in this challenge from BookCrossing. We love to make the world a library, but when it's done to help out a good cause, it somehow seems even better. And while we're on the subject of thanks, at the bottom of the article on the LUCIA site is a special note from their Trustees thanking BookCrossers who participated in the challenge. Start saving your titles for next year!

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