How to start sharing your books

Want to get involved with free book giveaways? Here's where to begin.

A substantial organization has grown up around the Little Free Library concept. Its website has tips, plans for making libraries, kits, even T-shirts. You can view a map of Little Free Libraries around the world at http://bit.ly/LittleFreeLibraries.

Another, larger book-sharing method is BookCrossing.com, begun in 2001. Remember the dollar-bill-tracking sites where you typed in the serial number of a marked bill to see where it had been? This is a similar deal, only with books. You register a book on the site to get a tracking number, which you write in the book before giving it to someone or leaving it somewhere. Whoever picks it up is invited to use the tracking number and website to let you know where it has gone. There are 2 million BookCrossers in 132 countries and 10 million registered books.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.