Donate books to help improve literacy and our environment

Reading up...on some of their stock are Better World Book staff Kerry Drummond, Scott Robertson, Stephen Hamilton and Dan Shiels.
Reading up...on some of their stock are Better World Book staff Kerry Drummond, Scott Robertson, Stephen Hamilton and Dan Shiels.

Fifers are being urged to help improve literacy by donating their old hardback and paperback books to the region’s book banks.

The appeal was issued by a local company which has rehomed more than 900,000 books since 2013.

Better for the planet ... if you donate your books to Better World Books.

Better for the planet ... if you donate your books to Better World Books.

Better World Books is appealing for more titles to be donated to support the work it does in funding literacy and saving books from landfill sites.

It now has 13 book banks in Fife Council Recycling Centres – in Kirkcaldy, Methil, Dunfermline, Lochgelly, Cowdenbeath; Dalgety Bay, St Andrews, Cupar, Pittenweem, Ladybank and Glenrothes, – offering a convenient way for people to drop off hardbacks and paperbacks they no longer need.

Donations are collected, processed and sold online by Better World Books with each sale generating funding for the Scottish Book Trust to support its literacy projects, and encouraging people to read and write.

Fiona Marshall, sales and maketing manager at Better World Books, explained how the process works.

Marketing manager Fiona Marshall.

Marketing manager Fiona Marshall.

She said: “All of the books we collect are processed at our warehouse in Dunfermline and stay there until they find new homes through sale or donation.

“Our scanning team is trained to condition books and we have a sophisticated system that looks at various data to determine if we want to keep a title.

“Any books that we don’t keep we look to donate. If we cannot donate a title it will be sent to Recycled Packaging Ltd which turns some of our books into animal bedding.”

Since 2013, the firm’s book banks and discards and donations programme for libraries has raised more than £25,000 for the Scottish Book Trust.

Fifers are being invited to donate their old books.

Fifers are being invited to donate their old books.

The Trust’s mission is to make sure that everyone in Scotland has the same opportunity to thrive through reading and writing.

Fiona said: “We’re delighted we can support the Trust in achieving this.

“We’re proud to be working jointly with the group and to see the impact of its fantastic work.”

In some cases, Better World Books chooses to support its own Literacy Fund, which provides annual literacy grants to libraries and non-profit organisations around the world which run projects delivering long-term literacy benefits.

The company accepts a wide range of books which makes its 1.6 million book inventory a real treasure trove for customers.

These include academic tomes, non-fiction books, children’s titles, as well as books on education, technical and vocational skills, hardback and paperback fiction, travel guides and university and secondary textbooks and study guides.

Fiona added: “To give the books the best chance of selling it’s important they are in good or better condition.

“Books with mildew, mould or dirt on them should be recycled.”

Better World Books and Fife Council are working together to ensure that books are re-used or recycled, creating a more sustainable environment.

Because every book that reaches them is kept out of landfill, Better World Books won the 2015 VIBES Circular Economy Award.

Stephanie Newstead, environmental strategy officer from Fife Resource Solutions – a limited liability partnership created by Fife Council to deliver services – said the scheme was working well. “It’s been hugely successful,” she said.

“A large number of books have been collected and diverted from landfill.

“It’s nearing one million now, amounting to more than 300 tonnes diverted from landfill.

“It’s a simple way for people to pass on used books so that others can benefit.

“It’s also preventing books being landfilled which helps meet recycling targets and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, though, by donating books people are supporting local literacy projects.”

Councillor John Wincott, environment and transport spokesman, agreed, saying: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to the people of Fife for supporting this scheme.

“They are not only supporting Scottish Book Trust but are helping to reduce waste too.”

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Importance of the printed word ...

Jane Mason, Early Years learning officer at Fife Council, said books were still important in society – despite advances in technology. She said: “In this digital age we now have eBooks.

“But physical books, comics and magazines still remain a very popular choice for children and adults.

“For example, a book before bedtime, is an excellent activity for parents to share with their children and often children know the stories off by heart.

“Books and printed materials can also be better for memory retention and focus, as they encourage children to engage with the pictures, ask questions and expand on and recall the story.”