Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why We Love Gently-Used Books

One of the most common observations made by visitors to The Children’s Book Bank after seeing our bookshelves is, “These books all look new!”  I always pause and smile before I let the person know that the majority of our books are gently-used.  We take pride in this perception because there is a lot of work that goes into keeping our collection attractive to our visitors.

(SIDEBAR:  The store was designed to resemble a children’s bookstore – specifically, the set used in You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks).

Part of the “value-added” process of moving donated books onto the shelves at the Book Bank requires a thorough screening by our volunteers.  They check donated books for signs of mildew, dirt, smell and general signs of age.  Books with ripped pages, crayon drawings and broken spines are not in suitable condition to offer to our respected customers.  Those that pass muster are worthy of the term “gently-used” and sent onto the shelves for our customers to consider.

Another reason why we love gently-used is because kids are the best predictors of books that other kids will want.  The most-requested books at the Book Bank are the same series and titles that families with the resources are purchasing from bookstores.  We generally expect a lag of 1-2 years between when a book is bought at a bookstore and when it is donated to the Book Bank.  Series like Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid and Geronimo Stilton are still popular series at the Book Bank.

The supply of good-quality and gently-used children’s books in Toronto continues to astound us.  How many books do we receive daily?   The answer to that is complicated.  No two days are the same.  Some days there are no donations.  Other days, the planets aligns in such a way that brings in several people on the same day, sometimes at the same time.  We never know who is coming through our door next.  Chances are, it’s someone who loves books.

As we quickly approach four years of operation, we are still excited when a new book donor comes through the door with bags and boxes of gently-used books.   Thank you, Torontonians (and GTA-ers) for going out of your way to bring us your gently-used books so that children in Toronto who would not otherwise own books, have a chance.

An Evening with Wayne Johnston

On Tuesday, March 6th, The Children’s Book Bank hosted its second annual author event:  “An Evening with Wayne Johnston”.  The event was hosted at Havergal College in the beautiful Brendan Robson Hall.

The cocktails and mingling before Johnston took the podium provided book-lovers with an opportunity to chat about the latest book awards and other Johnston works (many had read The Colony of Unrequited Dreams).

Guests were then treated to an intimate reading from Johnston’s newest book, A World Elsewhere.  Johnston was a consummate storyteller – we could have listened for hours to his stories about personalities from Newfoundland.  One story in particular will forever be engraved in everyone’s minds: the fallout from his controversial portrayal of Newfoundland Premier and legend, Joey Smallwood in Colony.  Johnston critics (and Smallwood-supporters) came to one of his speaking engagement in St. John’s to ask, “Would you treat Jesus this way?”

Following Johnston’s reading, attendees lined up to snatch a moment with Johnston as well as his signature.  He was generous with his time, answering questions and listening to everyone’s experiences in Newfoundland.  It was a great evening!

Thank you to the following event sponsors:

Events on the Park

The Vine by Robert Groh


Havergal College

An inspiring story of how one Torontonian used her network to help The Children’s Book Bank

Whitney M. is a recent graduate of Ryerson’s Fashion Communication program and works in Toronto. She called us one day out of the blue to ask if she could drop off the proceeds from a fundraiser she organized.

From the moment she arrived, it was one surprise after another.  First off, she handed us a cheque for $600!!!  For an organization as small as ours, this money goes a long way towards covering the costs of operating our storefront.  Next, she told us about the huge Soul Train dance party (and bake sale) that she organized at Jang Bang (a bar on College).  The event was effectively promoted through Whitney’s event’s page on Facebook and even got picked up by CBC Metro Morning’s weekend event’s listing.

Whitney felt inspired to help the Book Bank after visiting our website and learning about our mission to distribute free children’s books.  We can’t help but feel inspired by Whitney and her tremendous efforts.  Thanks so much to the people who supported Whitney’s events:  delicious treats for the bake sale were supplied by Meagan Bowden of HumblePie and the tunes were provided by DJ Noah McGillivray.

Thanks so much to Whitney for this remarkable contribution.