ESCANABA - United Way of Delta County will be hosting it's first Children's Book Swap Thursday, at Delta Plaza Mall from 10-2. Children and parents are invited to bring their old children's books to the food court and exchange them for different books.
"I don't really want a bunch of Danielle Steel novels or adult things," said Julie Mallard, executive director of United Way of Delta County. "I think any children's books, board books, picture books, and even some of the young adult chapter books, and honestly, even up to what teenagers are reading would be fine."
Books left over at the end of the day will be donated to local organizations like preschools and Great Start. "I don't have an idea how much volume we're going to get," said Mallard. "People who are working in the early childhood community said, 'you can bring them here.'"
There is no limit on the number of books that can be dropped off or picked up at the book swap. "If you brought in two books but you see five that you like, fine with me. You know, as long as there's enough to go around that would be great, because the idea is to build children's libraries at home," said Mallard.
A variety of organizations are helping with the book swap program, including the Delta-Schoolcraft Great Start Collaborative, which will be providing a prize wheel. The collaborative has been helping since the swap was only an idea. "Boy, they jumped in and had lots of ideas," said Mallard. "There are a lot of great ideas. If it's well received this year, and I think it will be, I can see building on this and making it an annual event."
Reading Buddies from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) will be reading to children during the event. "Now not only can you bring your books and pick up some other books to take with you but we'll have story time," said Mallard. RSVP is a United Way program, and other RSVP members will help with the event.
Children will also have an opportunity to view a fire truck provided by Escanaba Public Safety. "Kids love books with pictures of fire trucks, so this is their chance to see one up close and personal," said Mallard. The truck will be parked outside the mall in the parking lot by the food court entrance.
For anyone interested in purchasing a new book, Book World will be donating gift certificates to be given away as prizes. Families will also receive coupons worth 20 percent off children's and young adult books and information about Book World's summer reading program.
Books swapped through the program do not need to be new as long as they are in good condition. "It's so easy. It doesn't require people to go out and purchase a book to get one," said Mallard. "You can just clean out your children's book shelves, get rid of the ones they don't want anymore, and maybe you'll find something new to take home."
The book swap is open to anyone who has an interest in children's books. "If there are preschools or daycares or organized places like that are interested in this, by all means, bring books in and take books too," said Mallard. "They'd be more than welcome, it doesn't have to be just individuals; it can be anyone with an interest in children's books."
For more information about the book swap or any of the United Way's activities visit www.uwdelta.org or call 786-3736.