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Organizing a Book Swap/Exchange--ideas needed!

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We live in a military community overseas and don't have the luxury of visiting used books or really any book stores for that matter. I brought this up with our homeschool board today of doing our own book swap/exchange/sale what have you. I'm looking for idea on how something like this could be organzied and ran. With so many people coming and going, I'd love to possibly open this up community wide but am willing to start small with just something within our group too. Any and all ideas would be GREATLY appreciated.


Thanks a bunch!


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dangit! I got all excited and checked my local homeschool board and nope you're not in my area.


We had a kid one last year and have several clothing swaps a year and here's what we do: There's minimum guidelines about the books like no missing pages. Somebody checks so nobody complains later. For every good book that gets turned in for a swap, they get a ticket. When you want to "buy" you just turn in your ticket. 1 ticket = 1 book. We do the book turning in and book buying on different days but we got several hundred and had the room.

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We have had homeschool "market days" which included book sales.

The requirement is that the kids need to sell handmade items in addition to the 2nd hand toys and books. The items have ranged from baked goods, bookmarks and fridge magnets to a dolls house.

Everyone brings folding tables and sets up their own stall.

If your community is large enough, you could skip the handmade item part and just do a toy and book sale, although the crafts do add a nice element to the "market".

We ask for a very small stall fee to cover the cost of a DJ who comes with his music system in the back of his van (the market is outside). Again, this is not necessary, but adds a festive touch.


If you have a room or shelf space somewhere to do so, setting up a homeschool library might also be a good idea. You could make the amount of books that a family can borrow equal to the amount they donate, or work on some kind of points system (say 1 book borrowed for every 2 books donated). You'd also need to set up some guideline on the time that a family can keep the books for.


In our homeschool group we have 'red sticker' books (stuck onto the spine). These are ones that we have donated to the group and which members can borrow. It's very informal. The idea is that you can borrow the books as long as you need them, and then bring them to the group meeting where others can borrow them (much like a very informal book club would function).

You could do this in a more formal manner and have a list of the books that the group owns and who is borrowing them at any given time just to keep track of things.

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We do a clothing swap, and our process might help you.

This is a closed group of about 40 families, so not community-wide. One month time is identified for collection of clothing. One week is then scheduled for sorting by size/gender. One night is scheduled for swapping, in which the moms come to socialize and shop. Each person who comes in takes a paper from a jar, idenifying if they are in Group 1 or Group 2. Groups are given time in the room with the clothes to take what they need. Anything left over gets boxed/bagged up and donated to a local thrift shop.

We don't track what is brought by whom, as we don't have any need to limit what someone takes away.

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