How Library Friends Can Get Involved in World Book Night 2013

Who says Christmas need come only once a year? Last April, nearly 80,000 booklovers – many of them Library Friends – passed out upwards of 2.5 million free paperbacks to unsuspecting light and non-readers in their local communities as part of the second annual World Book Night initiative.

World Book Night 2013 is slated for Tuesday April 23, and preparations are already underway to build on last year’s success. Interested in becoming part of this fledgling legacy? Read on.

The kernel of the idea for World Book Night came about in 2010 during a roundtable discussion at a book industry conference in London. The most salient problem, experts agreed, was not illiteracy so much as alliteracy. In other words, adults in the United Kingdom were able to read, but a disconcerting percentage showed no desire to do so for pleasure.

On the surface, a solution was apparent enough: get a good book or two into the hands of these adults, and let the discover (or rediscover) the joy of reading for themselves. The problem, of course, was finding a financially and logistically feasible way to do this on a large scale.

World Book Night requires the participation and generosity of several parties. Each year, around 30 authors agree to volunteer one of their novels for distribution and waive all royalties from the giveaway. Publishers agree to foot the bill for printing, and libraries, bookstores, and literary associations volunteer to serve as community host locations. (Click here for more details on the selection process.)

But all that largesse and effort would be wasted without the participation of an army of “grassroots” volunteers each April.

How can I get involved?

World Book Night organizers are already soliciting volunteers available on April 23, 2013 to hand out 20 book copies in their community. Click here to fill out an application. In addition to your basic information, be prepared to answer these three questions:

  • Where do you intend to give away the books?
  • To whom do you intend to giveaway books to?
  • Why do you want to give books away?

Event organizers will vet all candidates and select those applicants they feel are best able “to reach light and non-readers.”

The application deadline is Jan. 23. Note that, if you are chosen, you will have a say in which of this year’s titles you distribute in your community. They range from literary classics like Willa Cather's My Antonia and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, to young adult titles from Rick Riordan and by James Patterson, to novels by popular fiction mainstays like John Grisham and Nora Roberts. Click here to peruse and rank the list.


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