Has a salesclerk ever approached you in a store and asked to help you and you responded, "No, thanks. I'm just browsing." Most likely, we have all had this happen before. What you meant is you were looking around to see if there was anything interesting enough for you to stop and take a closer look. Dictionaries define browsing as casual looking or reading; window shopping; scanning, glancing, and thumbing or flipping through. You get the idea. We browse through stores, museums, neighborhoods, and websites. Browsing helps us notice and find things.
Coffee table books are excellent vehicles for browsing and learning about a subject. They are large, usually hard-covered books with illustrations and photographs. They are meant to inspire, delight, and spark conversation. I've seen stunning coffee table books on a wide variety of subjects. It was my choice to read the accompanying text or only look at the images. In either case, I learned something by browsing through the book. Even if a person can't read well, we know that a picture is worth a thousand words. People can still gather information and knowledge through the power of browsing.
Coffee table books are more expensive than normal trade books. Sometimes people keep their coffee table books for years because they are so sturdy. They may read their coffee table books once or twice, and like other books they own, they never open them again.
The Metro East Literacy Project (MELP) is asking you to donate your forgotten coffee table books. If they are no longer interesting to you, they may be a delight to someone else. Clean out your attics, basements, and bookshelves and donate your coffee table books to us. We will give them to underresourced families in our communities.
Several coffee shops in the St. Louis area are partnering with MELP to collect books. Scan the QR code to see the list. Don't see your favorite coffee shop listed? Reach out to the owner or contact MELP and let us know. We would love to have many more coffee shops take part in this community literacy service.
If you don't have a coffee table book to donate, you can support this collection effort by giving a donation. Click #HelpMELP to give a donation of any amount.
Thank you so much for helping people live better lives through literacy.