How to set up an office book exchange

Published on by Sarah-Beth Watkins

Book exchanges is a great idea for those who love reading. You can swop books and get something new to read at no cost. Setting up an office book exchange will give you and your work colleagues a chance to swap books. The article details on how to set up your office book exchange.

Where to put it

The first thing to decide is whether the exchange will have a physical location. If you can use a corner of the staff room or an unused corner in a hallway, you can set up an exchange that can be accessed at any time.

Having a cabinet

Use book shelving or a cabinet to house the books. If you want to make sure the books are safe, use a lockable variety. Start your book exchange with an initial few books. You can use some of your own or ask colleagues to donate some to get you started. For a few pounds, you can also find books at car boot sales and charity shops.

What type of books?



Decide what type of books will be part of your exchange. Does anything go or is this just for novels and fiction reading? Do you want a work-related reference section? This can be a good idea for people to source new ideas and relevant information pertinent to their jobs.

Keeping track

If the exchange is open throughout the day, you can leave a ledger or copybook on top of it for people to note their exchanges. They note down what they have left and what they have taken out. This will give you some idea of what is popular and who has a given book at any time. If you have enquiries from someone else looking for that particular book, you will be able to source it.

Weekly meetings

If you don’t have space to house the books, you can still organise an exchange. Have a weekly meeting one lunchtime or after work, for people to meet and look at books for free. You can have a table where everyone returns their books and borrows something new to read. This meeting might even turn into a reading group as you discuss what books are available.

Publicise your exchange

Publicise your book exchange with posters and hand out leaflets to work colleagues or send an internal email. If you have a regular work newsletter or staff memo, you can give people information about the exchange on these.

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