Students send books around the world

Published 1:35 pm Friday, May 29, 2009

Students at Mt Laurel Elementary took this year’s library theme, ‘Read Around the World,’ to heart, spreading books across the United States and into other countries.

Through the Web site, they sent more than 100 books across the globe.

The books ended up everywhere: California, Orlando, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, Colorado, Indiana, Chicago, New York and internationally in Canada, China and Paris.

Students, parents and school staff donated the books so librarian Natasha Hanna could coordinate a launch over Spring Break, when families took the books on vacation and left them in public places.

“This seemed like a great activity and a good family event that would lead to more reading on vacation and thinking of books in a different way, as a way of communicating with others,” Hanna said.

Hanna encouraged students and parents to place the books anywhere with high traffic, like airports, malls, parks and coffee shops.

Hanna and library aide Viann Jackson registered each book as ‘released in the wild’ on the Web site so they could track the books’ travels. People who have found the books, called catchers, can post reviews on the Web site and say where they left it next.

One catcher found “Madeline in Paris” at a Starbucks in the Louvre museum and was so excited that she plans to keep the book.

Another family dropped off a book at a hotel, where staff members loved the idea so much that they read the book and were looking for interesting travelers to pass it along.

“The students are more excited about reading and learning about different places in the world,” Hanna said. “This is something I’m going to build on for a long time.”