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5 Questions for Melissa Monforti

What is your background and how did your journey lead you to become the Executive Director of Book Give? 

I’ve done everything from teaching Tai Chi to counting the number of Alnus incana in a 3 foot square section of upstate New York forest. I came to BookGive circuitously after starting three small businesses post grad school. I have a Master of Nonprofit Management from BookGive’s big neighbor to the north, Regis University. We’re right across the street from the university in the old Regis 66 station at 49th and Lowell.  

How satisfying is it to give books to the community and why is it important? 

Best feeling ever! Handing someone a book – free – and they look at you like, “I get to keep it?” Book ownership correlates with higher graduation rates, lower crime rates, better mental and physical health, less stress. It’s important that everyone has access to books in their homes. 

These have been challenging times. What has Book Give taught you about the community over these last two plus years?  

BookGive was essentially an experiment. Did our community need a free book resource? In two years, we’ve donated over 120,000 books. We claim that as a great big YES! The community does need free books as well as a place to donate books, a place that will do everything possible to keep those books out of the waste stream and in the hands of readers. We’re here to stay until every household (and those who don’t have a home) in Denver metro has all the books they need to succeed.

Book Give wants to spark a love of reading.  What books did you love in your life and why? 

I’m a fiction fan. For me, it’s about the characters. I have to care about them, and a good author makes characters come alive, like friends I can keep with me for a while.  I accept all book recommendations (our volunteers always have good ideas) and give them all a try.  

Summer is here and it’s a great time to read.  What books do you recommend? 

Recent reads that I loved: 

A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki 

Less, Andrew Sean Greer 

Her Mother’s Mother’s Mother and her Daughters,  María José Silveira

A Ghost in the Throat,  Doireann Ní Ghríofa

Written by

Vicky Collins is a freelance television producer and journalist based in Denver, Colorado with a diverse portfolio of projects that include network news, cable programming, Olympic sports, corporate and non-profit videos. Some of her most satisfying assignments have been covering disasters, working in the slums of developing countries and telling stories of people who show great courage in the face of adversity. She has been in all 50 states and on six continents and many of her television stories and photos are posted on her website at To contact Vicky Collins directly email or tweet @vickycollins.

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