In November 2017, the Harvard Planning Office Green Team hosted their inaugural used book drive. It was a "sustainable and smashing success," according to Diane Gray, Senior Campus Planner and Green Team Leader, with the group doubling their original goal by collecting 201 books and 15 maps for the non-profit More than Words.  

Here are 5 tips from the Harvard Planning Office on organizing a used book drive.

  1. Partner with an organization that re-uses books. The Harvard Planning Office contacted More Than Words, a non-profit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business. They operate two bookstores that sell used books. More Than Words provided a book drive packet with creative ideas on how to set up the book drive and ensure its success.
  2. Partner with Harvard’s Office for Sustainability and Office for Recycling for logistical support, including publicity and determining a loading dock at which the organization can pick up the books. Let other green teams on campus know that they can bring donated books to the book drive.  Expand the book drive by reaching out to other teams.
  3. Prepare for the book drive. Choose a date, duration (HPO chose a one week period for collection), and publicize the book drive a week before the event. Email all staff and post flyers on department bulletin boards.  Ask staff to save boxes for the book drive, and decorate the boxes with graphics showing the goals of the book drive.
  4. Place the collection boxes in a prominent place in the office and collect books. At the end of the drive, count the books, tape up the boxes and arrange for transportation to the loading dock. Working with the Office for Recycling, HPO arranged for them to bring the books to the Allston warehouse where they were picked up by the More Than Words staff.
  5. Let everyone know about the success! The Harvard Planning Office Green Team’s plans to make the book drive an annual event.