Open books, open minds

Dear reader,

as you may have noticed, I love reading (just look at the “Book I read” page). Every time I read a book, I think that it would be great to share it with this or that specific person. So, besides having some close friends with whom I can exchange books and talk about them, I thought that it would be great to enjoy reading experiences with colleagues. I decided then to try to build an “open voluntary library” inside my company.

What do I mean by “open” and “voluntary”? Open in the sense that it is not a physical space: everyone can keep their books in the office, and maybe some books could be exchanged in the digital realm. Voluntary in the sense that no one is forced to share anything, and any contribution could be taken back at any time.

Here is the outline of my plan to pull this off:

  1. Try to exchange some books with colleagues, to see how it feels (done, feels great!)
  2. Identify a small but significant group of people that is easily accessible and can be contacted by a trusted person (which is not me; you will see later why) (completed, a pretty natural step if your company provides some cross-areas training or coaching activities like mine does)
  3. Send a short description of my idea to the above group, to validate the general idea without having too much work upfront (at the end I will paste the exact text) (now in the making, I need to get feedback from the key person from step 2)
  4. If enough people reply (I’m shooting for six or seven at least) start building the tools to make it happen (an online form to add books to the collection, a public archive to view the titles…) and follow up with the first adopters for testing them.

I hope that this turns out well, at least I will have some fun as we go along: I’ll keep you posted as things proceed.

Here is the description of the idea I’d like to send:

“Dear colleagues,
during last years, I have seen some of you exchange books, some others keep their books on their desks or drawers, and some others expressed interest in this or that book.
Given these facts, I thought that it could be useful to create a list of books we are willing to share among us and some other tools that help connect readers and share books and reading-related experiences within the company.
Before going full-speed into the development phase of this simple idea, I would like to test his usefulness with you: if you are interested in taking part in this “open library experiment”, please send a line to (key person), and we will follow up.
Why is this mail anonymous? I prefer it this way for two very simple reasons.
First and foremost, I want to validate the idea, without any personal bias about the person proposing it getting in the way.
Second, I am not pretending to have invented anything “innovative”, “fancy” or “revolutionary”, and I am not making this to gain any personal advantage in the company (besides having access to more books to read, but this a fair one!).
I hope to hear from you soon, bye!”

Until next time, I’d like to hear if you have been involved in similar projects in the past, I’m hungry for good advice!