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Harry Potter Alliance - Accio Books Library Week Fundraiser

"Because that's what Hermione does," said Ron, shrugging. "When in doubt, go to the library."

UPDATE: 5/4/16

Last week we stopped by the Bring Your Own Books (BYOB) Book Drive, co-hosted by the Harry Potter Alliance and Book Riot in honor of World Book Night. WBN was established in the United Kingdom in 2011 to celebrate the importance of books, reading and literacy. It takes place on April 23rd (Shakespeare's birthday and International Day of the Book!) In NYC, book lovers gathered at Tumblr HQ to collect books and hear stories from Megan Abbott (The Fever, Queenpin), Dhonielle Clayton (Tiny Pretty Things), Jeffrey Cranor (Welcome to Nightvale), and Danielle Henderson (Feminist Ryan Gosling). The authors each donated one of their favorite books to be raffled off at the event, and Macmillan Teen and Rainbow Rowell provided complimentary copies of Kindred Spirits, a short story by Rainbow Rowell specially produced for World Book Day.

Be sure to check out:

  • Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran (donated by Megan Abbott)
  • Tease by Amanda Maciel (donated by Dhonielle Clayton)
  • Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson (donated by Jeffrey Cranor)
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (donated by Danielle Henderson)

Events were also hosted in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Across these locations, over 500 books were donated. Appropriate K-12 donations will be sent to the Good Shepherd School library in Masaka, Uganda. Local charities also received a portion of the donations.


"I can't imagine a [more] magical environment Good Shepherd Primary School students are going to live and study in!" -John Ssentamu, HPA Masaka Chapter Organizer

Thanks to you, we are able to fulfill our goal of shipping a mix of fiction, nonfiction and academic resources to help create the Good Shepherd School's library! You can view the breakdown below:

  • 8,000 fiction books (mix of picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, novels and leisure reading for grades 1-12)
  • 2,500 textbooks and reference materials (mix of primary books and secondary books)
  • Assorted school supplies for 250 students (including 1000 OoP notebooks)
  • 25 Dell Computers (5 for the library, 20 for a computer classroom)

These resources are expected to ship June/July and arrive in Uganda in the fall. And stay tuned on our blog for all the latest information!

UPDATE: 4/19/16

SOLD OUT: Our limited edition Harry Potter Alliance "When in doubt, go to the library" tees have sold out!

Please stay tuned for Accio Books Fundraiser updates!

UPDATE: 4/15/16

We sat down with Katie Bowers, the Campaigns Director at Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) to find out more about Accio Books and the HPA. Check out our interview below!


Katie Bowers_Harry Potter Alliance

Katie Bowers (left), Campaigns Director and Emma Hollier (right), Events Coordinator

If you donned the sorting hat, which house would it place you in?

At the HPA, we've got a lot of qualities of all the houses - we try to do brave, ambitious campaigns like Gryffindor and Slytherin. We try to be really thoughtful and clever, like Ravenclaw, and we also work hard to be a place that is accepting and encouraging to people from all kinds of different backgrounds and experiences, like Hufflepuff. Also, we love pizza, so a dorm by the kitchen would be pretty sweet. Personally, I'm a Ravenclaw, but I feel like the strength of the HPA lies in how much we embody so many of the houses.

What is the Harry Potter Alliance?

The HPA is a non-profit organization that uses the power of story to turn fans into heroes.  Using inspiration from stories like Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, and more, we strive to make the world better through activism and community engagement. Through HPA campaigns, young people have donated 250,000 books to libraries and literacy organizations worldwide, organized over 20,000 Youtube video creators and fans to advocate for net neutrality, made over 3,000 phone calls for marriage equality, and convinced Warner Bros to switch their Harry Potter chocolates to Fair Trade or UTZ-certified sources. We have chapters and individual wizard activists in over 20 countries on 6 continents, and anyone who wants to be a wizard activist can learn more at!

How did you become involved with the HPA?

I was originally drawn to the HPA because I'm a huge nerd who cares deeply about a wide array of social justice issues. I'd found ways to engage, separately, in both, but the HPA was the first organization I'd ever found that brought the passion of fans and the passion of activists together. I followed the HPA for years on social media before joining the volunteer staff in 2013. The HPA has an awesome network of volunteers who help support our chapters, research campaigns, create resources for wizard activists, librarians, and teachers, assist with fundraisers, etc. In 2015, I came on as a full time staff member.

How did Accio Books begin, and how has it grown since 2009?

Accio Books began at the suggestion of a community member who worked with Agohozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda. Our original goal was to collect 500 books for ASYV. We're an organization grounded in story, and it just made sense that some of our work should be dedicated to making stories more accessible. Our community agreed - so much so that they ended up collecting 13,481 books that first year! Since then, we've collected over 250,000 books for partners in NYC, Detroit, Mississippi, the Netherlands, Kansas City, and now, Masaka, Uganda! We're really excited about this year's partner. The school we are donating to, Good Shepherd School, was built by community leaders and volunteers from Masaka - including our local chapter, Masaka HPA. This chapter has really taken a lead on helping to bring more opportunities for education and physical fitness to their community, and we're so excited to be able to follow their lead and support their awesome efforts!

We've also partnered with the American Library Association to add an advocacy component to the campaign. This May, we're working with them to promote participation in National Library Legislative Day, which is a day dedicated to advocating for greater Congressional support for school and public libraries. Overall, our goal - whether doing the book drives, advocating for libraries, or celebrating literacy through events like World Book Night - is to increase access to stories that inspire people to change the world!

What types of books are you hoping to collect? How can others become involved in the campaign?

We collect books of all types. Usually, our community of chapters and individuals sends a lot of really wonderful novels, from middle-grade through adult, as well as children's picture books. Thanks to a great partnership with Out of Print Clothing and Books for Africa, we're also going to be able to send Good Shepherd School a really wonderful variety of brand new textbooks and reference books for all different ages (the school serves ages 3-17). We're basing our donations to Masaka on a list requested by the school, and the donation guidelines at Books for Africa.

The great thing about Accio Books is that you don't have to donate to the featured partner to be included in the campaign.  Lots of individuals and chapters donate to local organizations, or they split their donation between a local partner and our featured partner.  All donations, regardless of location, can be entered to earn points in our House Cup competition! Anyone who'd like to be part of Accio Books - by donating, advocating for libraries, or more - can check out the Accio Books Headquarters for more info.  We even have a "New to Accio Books?" section in the sidebar!

How have libraries influenced you growing up?

My earliest memories are from the children's room in my local library! I borrowed books there all the time as a young, bookish kid. In college, I was constantly studying in the library. These days, I use the library more for attending or hosting community events and classes. Libraries offer so much that they really grow with you.

What are some of the strangest donations you've received?

Ha! I don't see most of the donations myself, but one thing we like to do at giveaway events is line up all the multiple copies we get - so we might have 5 or 6 complete sets of Harry Potter, a couple sets of Twilight, a whole bunch of The Hunger Games. It's really wonderful to be able to tell someone "Yup, you can take the entire series for free!"

From Jackson Bird, Communications Director

I'll just add to the strange donations question: Every now and then people donate DVDs. We got a really creepy Alice In Wonderland adaptation once. I also love some of the 90s teen books we get. My favorites have been a Sabrina the Teenage Witch novelization and an autobiography Britney Spears co-wrote with her mom. We did some live readings of that last one.

What would you see in the Mirror of Erised?

I'd see the world that the HPA is helping to build: one where fans are actively engaged in making their communities better, where leaders are working to dismantle systems of oppression and hate, and where all people have access to incredible stories that inspire them to change the world. I'd see that, plus myself, curled up with a book, drinking a really excellent cup of tea. :) 

Harry Potter Alliance-group shot


UPDATE: 4/11/16

We're celebrating National Library Week by partnering with our friends at Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) in support of their annual Accio Books Campaign. Since 2009, Accio Books has collected over 250,000 books for communities across the globe. This year, HPA plans to stock a school library in the rural town of Masaka, Uganda. 10% of Out of Print online sales this week will then help to send a mix of fiction, nonfiction and academic resources there.

Good Shepherd School - Accio Books Campaign

In 2015, Masaka's HPA chapter worked with leaders and volunteers in their community to build Good Shepherd School, a co-educational school for 250 young people in Masaka's rural area. This year, they plan to open a school library and need help stocking its shelves. HPA chapter members, referred to as "wizard activists", will collect thousands of books and school supplies for Good Shepherd's library. With your support, Out of Print hopes to fully fund the shipment of books from the United States to Uganda, and donate academic resources to the school.

In the past, Out of Print has worked with schools and libraries to stock their shelves. With the help of our friends at Harry Potter Alliance, Good Shepherd School, Books For Africa and your support, we will create a library from the ground up. Does it get any more magical? Accio Books, indeed!

Please help us spread the word and keep checking back as we get closer to reaching our goal. 

Find Your Local Harry Potter Alliance Chapter to Donate

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