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LyzzyBee's OBCZ Mania

... or how I manage to pass along so many books...
by LyzzyBee
January 5, 2009
My newest Official BookCrossing Zone just hit the 1,000 book mark and I thought I'd use the opportunity to encourage people to set up or run an OBCZ. And celebrate their differences and similarities. See, I have three!

My first OBCZ started up almost by accident. I was in our lovely city centre coffee shop, Hudsons, talking to them about hosting a monthly Birmingham BookCrossers' meetup. I mentioned that some meetup venues even have a dedicated BookCrossing shelf. "Oh, can we have one please?" and so it started. Hudsons-Bham was my first OBCZ and it remains fairly active - as the main city centre one (there's also its offshoot, Hudsons-BMI ) it's the OBCZ that gets visited by overseas and non-local UK BookCrossers, and although the turnover isn't hugely high it's appreciated and we tend it every month when we (still, three years later) meet there.

Following on the cafe theme, a new organic deli and cafe opened in my local area. Again, a team of BCers started meeting there for coffee and cakes, and before we knew it we were explaining to Brett, the co-owner, who LOVED the idea, and KitchenGarden got set up. We even have a hand-made wooden shelf there; they measured the largest book on the shelf to get the height right, and it's hugely popular both with local parents and children as well as all sorts of other residents. This one has the highest turnover, with about 15-20 books leaving the shelf each week! And it's an opportunity to meet up with good friends to check the shelf each week...

Finally, working at a University, I got very active releasing books on campus. The Public Services team got wind of this and asked me to set up what I believe was the first official university library OBCZ, UofB-iLounge. This is the one I can release hardbacks and large format paperbacks into. I try to keep the books light and fun, a bit of light relief from all that studying, and this shelf has had the most appreciative journal entries so far - especially around exam time. What I love about this one is that everyone uses it - senior colleagues, cleaning staff, overseas students and the home-grown variety.

I keep spreadsheets for the first two and a list for the University one and update the shelf regularly with what has joined and left. You don't have to do that, but I like to see what comes and goes and also provide information on their books to the people who kindly leave them there.

So - open an OBCZ today - it's fun, and you get to be known as The Book Lady (or Gentleman)!

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