Tag Archives: library

Baby Products: Coming Soon (With Your Help!)

As you may or may not know, GoneReading’s philanthropic mission is to enable readers worldwide by funding the construction of libraries and other literacy programs in the developing world.  In fact, we donate 100% of our profits to such programs.

Rather than asking for donations, we generate these profits through the sale of our reading lifestyle merchandise, designed exclusively for book lovers and readers like yourself.  We encourage you to check out GoneReading’s Online Store.


And now we’re thrilled to announce that GoneReading will soon extend its gift and merchandise offering to include a line of baby products.  Yes, we want to turn your babies into book lovers!

Included in the lineup will be baby hats, onesies, bibs and blankets, each available in a wide variety of colors and sizes (samples displayed above).

Your Creativity Needed

BUT, we need your help in developing new “headlines” and “slogans” for our new baby product lineup.  Have a cute idea?  Post them as a comment below, on our Facebook page, or send them via email to babyideas@gonereading.com.  If we decide to use your idea we will gladly send you any free item of your choosing from our online store!

So put your thinking caps on and send us those ideas.  As always, we appreciate your time!

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

P.S.  Please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission!


Reading Is Evolving – And That’s A Good Thing

"The Evolution of Reading" merchandise now available for purchase at GoneReading.com. All profits benefit literacy.

The publishing world is in an upheaval, Borders has filed for Chapter 11, and libraries are struggling to maintain their funding.  All true, but none of these facts are evidence that reading itself is on the decline.

It’s evolving, for sure.  But I hear a lot of false speculation that reading as an activity is doomed to plummet along with sales of the printed book.

To the contrary, here is my three-step argument that reading will thrive in the years to come:

  1. eReader ownership is growing at a meteoric rate, with 12% of adults claiming to own such a device, double that of just six months ago.  This trend is not going to stop anytime soon.
  2. eBook sales are skyrocketing, with Amazon now reporting that eBook sales actually outpace that of printed books.  Again, it’s hard to see this trend slowing down anytime soon.
  3. People read more once they convert to an eReader, as shown by two independent studies in this article, as well in this release by researcher Harris Interactive.

If these three statements are true, and it’s hard to find arguments against any one of them, it seems blindingly clear that reading has a solid future.  Publishers, printers, bookstores and libraries all have their challenges ahead of them.

But reading itself stands to prosper.

More Reading Is Always Better

We have a saying at GoneReading that more reading is always better, regardless of the content or format.  And the fact is that eReaders will play a dramatic role in increasing readership in every corner of the world.

The positive implications for the developing world are unprecedented.  Just as cell phone technology has leapfrogged landlines in the developing world, eReaders can leapfrog the printed book with stunning results.  Non-profits such as WorldReader are adapting and testing eReader technology to bring the magic of reading to places where the printed book has yet to arrive.

Lastly, there’s also a strong case to be made that eReaders are better for the environment than the printed book.

My Conclusion

No one loves the printed book more than myself; I’m fortunate enough to own hundreds of them, and I have yet to buy an eReader.

But our sentiments can’t stop technologies from evolving and improving.  Despite the pain these changes effect in the short run – and they are heart wrenching changes for many people in the industries mentioned above – the evolution of reading is good for the world.

Feel free to prove me right or wrong by commenting below!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this little article, please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission!

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

Can Our Libraries Learn From the Developing World?

In Western society we tend to think we’ve got everything figured out, at least in relation to the developing world.  When it comes to funding libraries, that’s not exactly the case.

Eager young readers spend their Saturday in this rural village library in Nepal.

It won’t surprise readers to learn that many public libraries in the United States are fighting to protect their funding.  Book lovers will want to read more about the struggle for funding here.  The article points out that the library system in the U.S. was largely created by Andrew Carnegie through his massive philanthropic investments almost 100 years ago.

Carnegie helped build the library infrastructure, but the on-going operating costs – librarian salaries, new book purchases, utilities, etc. – of these libraries has been funded through tax dollars.  The scarcity of tax dollars now threatens many of those same libraries that Carnegie helped build.

As I learned during my recent trip to India and Nepal, however, there’s a much more sustainable model for library development.  Non-profit READ Global has spent the last 20 years helping to launch dozens of self-sufficient libraries in the poorest regions of the world.  Sounds counter-intuitive, right?

READ makes a significant investment to help launch and build each library.  However, at the same time it also helps the local community launch a grassroots business, with all profits going to fund 100% of each library’s costs moving forward.  Each such enterprise provides jobs and a needed service, creating a new cycle of economic growth in these tiny villages.

My wife Eileen greets the local textile workers in the READ library in Geejgarh, India. Their work funds the local library's operating expenses.

While visiting one such library in the rural hamlet of Geejgarh, India we met the staff of a mini textile factory operated within the local library.  Incredibly, they had just signed a contract with a major retailer to manufacture 50,000 cloth bags.  All profits are used to fund the local library’s operating costs in full, often creating a surplus.

While touring such libraries in rural Nepal we rode over a bridge that was actually funded by the local library association.  Yes, READ has created such an incredible model that their local library associations are now funding major community infrastructure projects.  Amazing.

Perhaps READ’s model, successfully tested for 20+ years in dozens of libraries across three countries, can now migrate to the West.

As you might expect, GoneReading has pledged its financial support to READ.  Click here to learn more about READ, and here to buy GoneReading apparel, gifts and merchandise.

P.S.  If you enjoyed this little article, please flatter us by subscribing to this blog via email or RSS Feed.  Doing so plays a big role in supporting our philanthropic mission!

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

Must-See Destinations for Readers – The Library of Congress

With this article we begin a new series, GoneReading‘s Must-See Destinations for Readers.  And where else to begin than the “mother ship” as I refer to it, the United States Library of Congress.

I first visited the “LC” last summer shortly after moving to the DC-area.  Although I had been to Washington dozens of times, like many people, the Library simply wasn’t top of mind.  An incredible oversight for this bibliophile.

The architectural wonder of the interior is reason-enough to visit the Library of Congress

So what is the Library of Congress anyway?  According to its website, the Library’s mission is “To support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties… ”    Which explains the tunnel between the U.S. Capital and the Library itself.  The Library was originally formed in 1800 to make sure that Congress had access to the world’s most important written knowledge.  A noble goal in any era; more notably so at a time when libraries barely existed in the U.S.

Over time the Library’s mission expanded to include “(furthering) the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.”  The Library is, above all, a massive collection of information, impressive even in the Internet era.

Why should you visit the Library of Congress?

If you love to read, you owe yourself a trip to the Mother Ship, aka The Library of Congress

  • It’s incredibly beautiful.  I’m not sure there is a building in all of Washington with a more grand, artful, ornate, palace-like  interior.  Bring your camera.
  • The exhibits.  Think of the Library as a museum for bibliophiles and book lovers.  The rotating exhibits are world-class, on par with the best of any major museum.
  • Thomas Jefferson’s Library.  After the original Library of Congress was burned in the War of 1812, Jefferson sold his personal book collection to the United States, forming the nucleus of the new Library.  His vast collection is now set aside for all to see.  If you love perusing bookshelves it simply doesn’t get any better than this.  I literally shivered to see, up close and in person, the actual volumes that Jefferson read.
  • The message it sends to your kids.  The grandeur of the Library, its vastness and beauty, sends a clear message: Reading is important, something to be cherished and valued.  While this message resounds for all, its impact on children is especially indelible.
Not to be forgotten, the Library is a working library available to all “researchers” aged 16 and up.  It does take a little advance planning, including a registration process,in order to access the collections.
And as you might expect, there is a gift shop.  I couldn’t help myself during my first visit.  And although I think the staff was as surprised as anyone, I left the Library with my very own baseball cap from the LC.  I wear it almost every weekend with proud distinction, much to my wife’s chagrin.
For visitor information on the Library of Congress, click here.

Please share your comments below…

Bradley S. Wirz, Founder & CEO
http://www.gonereading.com/

My Love of Reading, My Secret Desire to Serve Time, and How Readers Can Change the World

For me, reading is as good as it gets.  For as long as I can remember I’ve had an attraction to books that is hard to describe.

I remember how badly I wanted to check out a real book – one with no pictures at all – from my elementary school library, and how the librarian sat me down and asked me to read the first paragraph.  After I stumbled through the first sentence, she politely sent me back to the picture books.

In the fifth grade I desperately wanted to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s Return of the King.  I just knew those pages were filled with magic, but I still couldn’t make it through the first few pages.  And as I realized many years later, Return of the King is actually the last book in the trilogy!  My love of reading was years ahead of my ability to comprehend.

The first “real” book that I read to completion was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.  I raced through it without blinking, and I was hooked for life.

Ever since then I’ve been a hardcore reader, the kind of person who doesn’t even go to the doctor’s office without something interesting to read.  Each new phase of my life has begun with a visit to the library, bookstore, or more recently, Amazon.  Learning to sail, landing an internship, getting a job, starting my first business… I learned it all from reading.

My love of reading sometimes hits ridiculous extremes: When watching the news and hearing about so-and-so’s life sentence to prison I perversely think “Lucky bastard. Now you can spend all day just reading.”  And while prison probably doesn’t actually work that way, in the back of my mind it sounds pretty awesome.

Quite separately, my love of reading has blessed me to the point that I recently founded a philanthropic brand called GoneReading™.  The first lifestyle brand of apparel and gifts for those who love to read, GoneReading™ donates 100% of after-tax profits to fund library and literacy projects in the developing world.  Readers, just like reading itself, can make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.

And so my love of reading continues.  Right now I’m spending quite a bit of time at the local library researching my plan for GoneReading™ to, ironically, build libraries around the world.  As you might imagine, I’ve got a lot of reading to do.

If you love to read, and if my story sounds at all familiar, then please follow along and get involved with the GoneReading™ story.  By doing so I think you will find that your own love of reading can truly help change the world.

%d bloggers like this: