Got green books? Donate!

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Almost twenty years ago, I bought part of my friend and Kumpare Jerry Gracio’s library. 175 books sold for a song to a friend who he thought would take care of the books and keep them forever. Jerry is now an award-winning writer/poet and currently Commissioner at the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and I don’t have a single book from that collection anymore. I was proud of that collection and allowed everyone who wanted to borrow the books to get them, trusting they would be returned. None did.

So when I started building my own library, I was so possessive of my books and hardly allowed anybody to borrow. I was collecting mostly environmental books and some. My dream was to set up a Green Library somewhere, an idea that I peddled to anyone who would listen. Over the years, I have collected about 500 environmental books. When I decided to finally do international volunteering, I thought of finally letting go of, at least, some of my books. A good opportunity came when fellow climate leader and first-ever Green Ring Awardee, Bro Jaazeal Jakosalem, AOR of Greenheart Hermitage received a donation of a bus which he wanted to convert into an Earth Bus that would go around the country spreading awareness about ecology and various environmental issues. I decided to let go of 300 environmental books so that more people would benefit.


Little did I know that instead of being on the Earth Bus, Bro. Tagoy, as he is fondly called, would place my books in the university and set up a mini library which he calls Shiela R Castillo Eco-Library! Imagine my shock when I saw his facebook posts!

But I was a bit embarrassed. Three hundred environmental books are not much, and although they were selected throughout many years, they don’t make a substantial library. So I am starting a book drive to help grow the collection.

I know you can help! Do you have some environmental books lying somewhere in the house? Donate and make them part of the Eco-Library at the USJR. RIDEM, where the books currently are, is somehow the Cebu home of Climate Reality leaders. Together, RIDEM and Climate Reality Philippines have conducted a lot of activities together on climate change and other environmental issues. So many people will benefit from the library such as local climate leaders, researchers, students, and random guests visiting RIDEM because of their award-winning eco-initiatives!

Here are some things to remember when donating books,

Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t buy it or give it to a friend, think twice about donating it. Condition matters – if your items have any of the following issues, they usually won’t be accepted:

  • Dirty
  • Moldy
  • Burnt
  • Water damaged
  • Damaged binding or pages
  • Missing covers or pages
  • Excessive writing, markings, or highlighting
  • Cut out library treatments

In addition, many libraries will not accept Readers Digest Condensed Books, encyclopedias, National Geographics, workbooks and study guides, non-commercially produced media, or textbooks or professional materials more than 5 years old.

Also remember that this is an eco-library so books about the environment, environmentalists and eco-heroes, climate change and other environmental issues, animals, plants, travel books, cookbooks (vegan!), novels and storybooks about Mother Earth, indigenous peoples, green lifestyle, eco-friendly businesses are welcome. Please send book donations to:

Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem,OAR
Director, RIDEM (Recoletos Institute for Disaster and Environmental Management) University of San Jose – Recoletos Basak Campus, Cebu City, Philippines  +639956440910

You can also help by inviting your friends to this facebook page for the book drive.

Knowing that the books are in the Eco-Library for the public to enjoy and benefit from makes me so happy from the heart. I don’t mind not having them. For me, they have found a new home, a home where they will be able to be of help to more people and would raise awareness for Mother Earth and her plights. I’m looking forward to seeing your green books donated too. I know it is the first eco-library in the Philippines. Who knows this could be the biggest eco-library in the country too! With your help, It just might happen!

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