What began as World Book Night in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2011 has now spread to the United States. Here's how it works: people who love to read go out into their communities and hand out free books to others who might not yet share their love of reading. Tuesday Springfield volunteers will join the ranks. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann spoke with event coordinators and has this report.
For some, reading is a passion unmatched by anything else. Those who love to read know the value of a good book and want to share that with others. Kathy Woodward is a spokesperson for the Library Center. She says sharing that passion for reading is just what World Book Night is all about.
Each year, the event takes place on April 23rd in connection with the International Day of the Book--and in honor of William Shakespeare’s birthday.
“Each year on April 23rd we’ll have a book night when individuals can hand out 20 copies of a book to either non-readers or infrequent readers in the community,” Woodward says.
Last year, nearly 5,800 cities and towns worldwide participated. Woodward says she's excited about the enthusiasm she's have seen shown by lots of local volunteers who signed up to be book-givers. This high number is the reason Springfield ranks 16th on the list of top 25 participating cities per capita. St. Louis placed first.
Woodward says nearly 40 people have picked up their book bundles. Each bundle contains 20 copies of an individual book. Book givers choose their titles based upon their personal love of the book and the population they are trying to reach.
“People sign up to be a book giver and then they think of a place in the community where they can come across a variety of people that might needs these books, and might help them to be readers. So they might go somewhere like the Salvation Army, or the Missouri Hotel, even just Park Central Square. And they’re just going to stand and hand out books to people and say ‘here would you like to have this to read,’” says Woodward.
“Bossypants” by Tina Fey, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margret Atwood, and “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury are just a few of the 22 titles that will be handed out.