Starting this month, book lovers young and old can swap out their old reads for new favorites, and have a group of youngsters to thank for the opportunity to do so.
The Happy Hustlers 4-H club is organizing a monthly book swap program that allows readers to keep some variety in their libraries by bringing in gently used books and swapping them out with other ones.
Eighth grader Larry Zieammerman and seventh grader Cassie Meyer have been instrumental in the development of the program, adviser Kathy Martin said.
Fifth grader Johnny Zieammerman and third grader Grace Hett have done a lot of work in the elementary school as well, including running the elementary school book drive, which has netted the swap program more than 1,300 books.
“We seriously just thought we were gonna get, like, 300 to 400 books, then we got 1,000,” Johnny Zieammerman said.
“It’s like shocking kind of,” Grace Hett said. “We didn’t know that would happen, but then you see all these books, you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness.’”
The books will serve as a library of sorts for readers who attend the book swaps. They will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on the fourth Saturday of each month in the Sports and Aquatics Center. The first swap will take place March 28.
Martin said the group plans to run the program for as long as it’s useful. When the program ends, she said, the books will get donated somewhere.
Because the book drive was organized at the elementary school, Martin said, there’s an abundance of kids’ books, but not very many adult books.
As part of the project, the 4-H’ers have placed book boxes at Valley United Methodist, Eastmoor United Methodist, and Emmanuel Baptist churches, as well as a box at the middle school and one eventually to be put in the Marion Senior Center.
Anyone willing to donate books may drop them off at any of those locations, Martin said.