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'Bookcrossing' turns a page
17/9/2005 9:42

Nicholas Ning/Shanghai Daily news

Putuo District libraries are preparing to launch a new book-exchange program next month that makes it easier to find a good read.
The initiative is called "bookcrossing," and it allows readers to take books home, read them and pass them on to someone else at a designated spot. It's similar to an informal program in America, but here there are few more rules.
The Putuo District Library is asking for donation, which will be put on its shelves and the shelves of nine community libraries taking part in the program. More than 1,000 books will be available initially, everything from school texts to novels written in Chinese, English and other languages.
"We just want to make the books useful and let people explore the pleasure of reading in a different way," said Putuo District Library Director Si Ying.
The library gets donations every year. Many books are hardly used, such as texts and tutorial materials.
"They're not frequently read or borrowed from the library, but they might be of great use to some students, and perhaps others who don't visit the library often," said Si, explaining the background for the program.
In the United States, bookcrossers contribute a book and place it wherever they like.
The donor can track the book's whereabouts by posting a message on a special Website, explaining where he put the book. Whoever takes it is supposed to share his or her views about the book online.
In the local program, however, the books are available only at Putuo Library and nine other community libraries.
Readers don't need a library card to participate, but they are asked to register before taking a book. After they're finished reading, they must return the book to a bookcrossing shelf at a designated library or charity supermarket.
A few local residents, including some expatriates, have already experienced the original bookcrossing.
More than 200 locals have registered at, a Website based in United States. Anthony Yu, a 25-year-old doctor, participated in bookcrossing about two years ago.
"I read from the magazine that many Shanghai residents were taking part in it. I thought it could be fun and give me a chance to make friends. But when I left an English novel in public, no one answered my call on the Web, and I have no idea where it is now."