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Book Box

Take a book, leave a book: A community initiative

Student Life

By Memorial University

Outside the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) on the second floor of the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation is a box.

Inside the box is what many in the Memorial community would agree is a happy discovery: books for the taking and an invitation to leave one, too.

From left are Killol Chokshi, Carol Sullivan, Dr. Aimée Surprenant and Navjotpal Kaur.
Photo: Submitted

Free books left in the hallways and outside offices on campus isn’t totally unheard of. But in this case, there’s a bit of a twist.

The idea of “take a book, leave a book” stemmed from reading a news article about a similar Book Box at New York University, say project leads Killol Chokshi and Navjotpal Kaur.

Mr. Chokshi is a research co-ordinator, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Discipline of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, and Ms. Kaur is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology.

‘Joy ride on the ocean of literature’

Mr. Chokshi says the Book Box gives readers a chance to explore different genres of literature without any fees or time limit and has something for everyone.

“We have fiction, novels and short stories, and non-fiction, such as biographies and inspirational/philosophical books – and for those who want to dive deep into local literature, there is a Newfoundland and Labrador section as well,” he said. “The Book Box also has graphic novels and children’s books, if you have someone accompanying you on your joy ride on the ocean of literature!”

To bring the Book Box concept to Memorial, Mr. Chokshi successfully secured funding through TakingITGlobal in the form of #RisingYouth Community Service Grants.

“Books and libraries are where ideas live.” — Carol Sullivan

Dr. Aimée Surprenant, dean, School of Graduate Studies, and Carol Sullivan, manager, fellowships and awards, were happy to provide the space for the student and staff-led project. Although the book box is situated near SGS, it is open to all students, faculty and staff of Memorial University.

“It is critically important to student success to provide a good experience both in and out of the classroom or laboratory,” Dr. Surprenant said. “Initiatives such as this one give students the ability to step outside of their studies for a little while and nourish their imagination and broader interests unrelated to their studies. We strive to support a healthy work-life balance for all the members of our community.”


“Books and libraries are where ideas live. With every hand that opens one and every mind that engages one, a new world is created,” Ms. Sullivan said. “Graduate students of all ages – yes, there’s even a few kid’s books in our book box – can browse, sit and read, or take a book away with them. Libraries are one of our most valuable archives and resources and we love that a small version is right outside our offices.”

“The books have been handpicked for the Book Box.” — Navjotpal Kaur

Ms. Kaur says the best part of the Book Box is that the books are free “as knowledge ought to be.”

“I have been a book aficionado all my life and when this opportunity to share my passion presented itself, I held on to it,” she said. “The books have been handpicked for the Book Box. It will give readers an opportunity to read some lesser known but exceptional books, i.e. hidden gems! I would particularly recommend readers to check out the Newfoundland section – it has everything from fiction to non-fiction and from biographies to humour.”

The project leads say the SGS is an apt location, as many graduate students visit throughout the semester.

“Book Box will also help calm some nerves for the doctoral students who will be defending their doctoral thesis in the boardroom of SGS,” said Ms Kaur.

For any queries regarding this project, please contact project lead Killol Chokshi.

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