Wednesday, April 24, 2013

World Book Night 2013

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Last night I participated in World Book Night! WBN started in England in 2011. As the website describes it, it's "an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading." Each year, 30 books are selected by a panel. To volunteer as a book giver, you have to complete an online application explaining which book you want to give away, and why, and where you plan to give it away. If you're selected, a box of about 20 books is sent to a local pickup location the week before World Book Night. Then, on the designated night, you go out into the community to give away the books, ideally to light readers or non-readers. This was the second WBN in America, and the second one I've participated in. Two for two!

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I got my first choice for 2013: Bossypants by Tina Fey! Last year I handed out books sort of randomly, and this year I wanted to be more intentional. My original idea was to give away copies at a women's shelter (Bossypants is such a great book for women). But when I started researching, I quickly realized that most women's shelters are off the grid and don't allow visitors. The Salvation Army has one downtown that's not secret, but they never returned my call asking permission to give books there. Sooo I sent out some desperate e-mails to friends with charity connections. My eventual book giving location was Su Casa, a ministry to the Hispanic community that provides lots of English classes to non-native speakers. The evening class supervisor stood in the hall with me as students were arriving, and pointed out advanced students who would enjoy reading the book for practice. Many native speakers (instructors, I'm guessing) also took books, including several who indicated they didn't read much, and one had a lot of questions about WBN. Yay!

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I've already decided that next year, if I'm accepted, I'm going to give books away at a hospital. Probably in the ER. So remind me of this in 2014 when I'm worrying about where to go!


  1. Thats a fantastic book and a great one to give away! Its really cool that you participate in this!

  2. Did you have such an awesome awesome time? I haven't done it -- when/if I ever leave NYC, I will though. There's just so many people doing it here.

    1. I always stress about it ahead of time, but have fun while I'm handing the books out! I totally see how NYC would be overrun.