Accio Books! is our spell for getting stories into the hands of everyone who needs them. For over 10 years, we’ve donated hundreds of thousands of books to schools, libraries, and communities around the world.
Like all things, Accio Books looks a little different this year! Our original plans for Accio Books may have changed, but we still believe sharing stories is exactly what the end of 2020 needs.
HOW TO ACCIO BOOKS IN 2020!
Step 1: Find and Contact Your Recipient!
The HPA’s official partner this year is Anne Beers Elementary in D.C.! Anne Beers is a PreK-5th grade Title-I elementary school that supports 450+ learners within the general, autism, and special education populations. 100% of their students receive free/reduced lunch.
You can choose to send your books here, or to a local partner instead if you prefer. It’s also likely that you may have donations that don’t meet the needs of Anne Beers Elementary, so you could send children’s books to them and other books to a local partner!
Anne Beers ES
ATTN: Nikeya Jarrett
3600 Alabama Ave SE
Washington, DC 20020
WHAT THEY NEED
- Multicultural books (variety of authors, genres, and characters that will build confidence and their knowledge of different cultures)
- Books of varying educational and reading levels
- Books for even younger children to send home with families to encourage early literacy before they even get to school!
- This means you can post for donations of books for ages 1-12. Please do not send them books for adults/older teens!
Lots of places are open to book donations, like libraries, shelters, schools, or other nonprofits dedicated to literacy and education. Where you donate the books you collect is up to you, but it’s important that you first confirm if the organization is able to accept the donations. Even if you have worked with a partner in the past, their need for books and ability to accept them may have changed in 2020. Some organizations might also have specific requirements for donations or might be looking for books for certain age groups. Always make sure to ask what they’re looking for.
Step 2: Collect the Books!
Remember to practice safety when handling the books!
- Let any collected books sit for 3 days before you pack them up to donate
- Give each book cover a gentle wipe-down with a disinfectant
- Be sure to wash your hands well before packing up the books to send and after you handle the books
Friends and Family
If you’re collecting books from friends and family, they may be able to drop those off to you directly or if you have access to a car you can collect them (if you are not in a “pod” or “bubble,” be sure to keep at least 6 feet of social distance and wear a mask, or consider having them leave the books outside your door).
Donations from Your Bookshelf!
You don’t need to collect a lot of books to participate in Accio Books! — even 1 book counts! If you’ve been meaning to do a little bookshelf tidy, now’s the perfect time to pass along a few favorites to others who will love them.
If you’re collecting books from the community, think about where you might be able to leave a donation box! (Remember: don’t give your home address publicly.) You’ll want to consider:
- Does the location have good social distance and pandemic safety procedures in place?
- Is the location open at hours easily accessible to the public?
Some good options might be local coffee shops or other businesses that are currently open but practicing mask-wearing and social distance requirements. Choosing a local business is especially awesome right now because you might be able to help them get some promotion too!
Once you find a location to leave your donation box, make that box very easy to spot! We’re fond of decorating donation boxes with colored paper, markers, paint, or anything else you can think of! You’ll probably want to include some basic information about the campaign on the side of the box. If your donation site is asking for only specific books, be sure to also include that information.
Donations from the Internet
You can send books online. Using the HPA’s Bookshop.org page is an awesome way to do that! A portion of purchases from our shop go to benefit the HPA, meaning that you’ll be giving back double!
Step 3: Publicize, publicize, publicize!
Make sure you get the word out about your book drive! Post about it on social media (and tag @theHPAlliance so we can share!); ask your school if you can put an ad in the student newsletter; tell friends and family and ask if they’d be willing to donate. If you’re collecting books from the community, make sure you tell folks where your donation box is located and how long it will be there (see if your donation box host will share with their customers as well!).
If you’re planning to ship books to a donation site, you may also want to ask if folks can make a small donation to help you cover that cost. Options like Venmo and Cashapp are great for accepting donations online. For safety, we do not recommend collecting cash donations.
Remember: do not host any events or gatherings for your book drive. Do not stay at the business with your box the whole time, either! Maintain proper social distance and avoid gathering folks together at all times during your Accio Books project.
Step 4: Sort and Deliver Your Books!
Following Collection Safety procedures as described above, sort through your donations! Make sure all of the donations are appropriate for the donation site you’ve chosen. While you’re sorting, make sure you keep count of how many books you’re donating.
If you’re donating your books by mail, ask the postal work to ship your box as media mail, which is often the cheapest shipping method. Remember to wear a mask at the post office!
You can always put in a nice note from your chapter that lets the recipient know a little bit more about your chapter/members and wishes them well! You can add special notes in each book to earn extra points in the House Cup.
If you’re dropping off books in person, you’ll want to coordinate a time with your donation site, just in case their staff is not always working in the office. Make sure you wear your mask and stay six feet away from the donation site staff.
Step 5: Share your results!
Report your donation totals! This helps us keep track of how many books were collected across the globe, AND determines the winner of the coveted House Cup. When you submit your donation totals, you’ll earn points for Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw.
You can submit your totals as you go. For example, if you collected 10 books in the first week and another 10 books in the second week, you could submit two different forms reporting 10 books each time. Or, you can wait and count all of your books at the end of your collection time and report them all at once! If you’d like to split points between multiple houses you’ll need to submit separate forms for each house.
Share your donation results with your friends, family and community! If you partnered with a local business to collect donations, be sure to share the results with them and thank them for their support. If anyone financially supported your shipping costs, be sure to thank them as well!
Post your results online and tag @theHPAlliance so we can celebrate with you, too!