Have you visited The Book Box at Charity Farm? Find out why Ethan created the book exchange, how it works, and the future plans that benefit our community.
About the Book Exchange
Created and tended by Ethan, a supervisor at Charity Farm, the book exchange is a wonderful initiative which harnesses momentum from the community to raise money for charities, which in turn, serve the important needs of our communities.
The Book Box is comprised of three bookshelves, nestled in the corner of our clothing department. Stocking not only books, but CDs, DVDs, and games as well, this simple ensemble has proved to be very popular among our customers and has generated its own audience as well.
Growing in Size
In September 2019, Ethan asked to set up a small stand in the clothing / gift area, the idea was to encourage others to start reading by offering an affordable way to get hold of books.
Ethan was surprised by the amount of donations he received “Originally that’s all it was, one old dog treat stand filled with an armload of my old books and from there I’ve been trying to keep up ever since. When people asked if we’d take donations of CDs and DVDs I enthusiastically said yes and suddenly the book exchange offered music and films, my other two passions outside of books. The more the book exchange can offer the better!”.
Keeping it Social
You can keep up to date with the latest additions to the shelves and stay entertained with short videos and comically relevant song choices.
Instagram: Stock Info, Entertaining Videos and Charity Updates.
In exchange for taking a book, film, CD, or game, you can leave something in it’s place, or you can make a monetary donation. Any money raised by the book exchange is donated to the chosen charity that month, which is displayed on the black board by the exchange, and announced on social media.
“There is a suggested donations list on the Book Exchange, but this is just a suggested price as I believe books, films and music should be easily accessible an affordable to everyone. I try to cater to everyone’s interests and needs and eventually I would love to offer the same kind of service on a bigger scale to an even wider reach.”
At first, Ethan was unsure what to do with the monetary donations, “…to buy more books or treat the staff to cake. It felt only just and fair to donate the money to a good cause (not that treating the staff to cake isn’t a good cause)”.
At the start of each month a new charity is selected, if you would like to suggest a charity, be it local or another worthy cause, let a member of staff know and Ethan will take it into consideration.
“If we can donate just a little bit whilst entertaining people then that’s the ultimate win.”
On the 25th of September, The Book Box will be celebrating its 3rd birthday. This year the Book Box rebranded from ‘Ethan’s Book Exchange’ to ‘The Book Box’ with some help fromAthena’s Temple. In 2022, charities that have benefited so far include: Young Carers, StonewallUK, Peace Direct, Macmillan Cancer Support, Medical Detention Dogs, Mind Out, RNLI and Staplehurst Play Group. At the end of the month, the book exchange will be donating to Brooke, a charity that actions care for working donkeys.
For now, the book exchange is happily tucked into the corner, but as the bookshelves grow taller it may soon outgrow its space. We asked Ethan his hopes for the book exchange, also growing in popularity.
“To have its own dedicated space where anyone is welcome and encouraged to explore their love of reading and can take a moment to just enjoy a good book or a great song without the worries of financial burdens and to feel like they’re giving back to the world whilst enjoying the arts it has to offer.”
With exciting new projects afoot at Charity Farm, we hope to incorporate this goal into our plans.
“I’m incredibly proud of how far it’s come and how supportive everyone has been, there’s no way we’d be where we are now if it wasn’t for people’s incredible generosity and kindness. I’m forever grateful to everyone who visits the book exchange.”
Next time you visit us, take a minute to browse the shelves of The Book Box, dare to pick something from the ‘Mystery Shelf’, and if you find something you like the sound of, support your community by making an exchange.