A few days ago, I had the opportunity to give books away. This may sound redundant. I’m a librarian. Don’t we let people take books for free anyway?
Well, yes, but under different circumstances. Those books have to be returned. The books I gave away were for people to keep.
Last year, I found out about an awesome program known as World Book Night. Each year, on April 23rd, people go out and give books away. The amazing team at WBN work with publishers, select titles, and then send them to people who applied for and become book givers. This year, there were 30 titles; I got to give out 20 copies of Zora And Me.
I can’t tell you the profound joy I got in giving those books away to some reluctant young readers. One girl, whom I think was about 11, politely asked me where she should return the copy of the book I’d just given to her. I told her it was hers to keep, that she could share it with a friend, whatever she wanted. She cradled that book with a look of wonder. “For me? Really?”
This whole experience reminded me of the great gift reading can be. Do you remember that feeling of opening a book and getting lost in the characters and their world for the first time? Or looking up from a book and realizing that, for a couple of hours at least, you weren’t sitting at home, but instead were in Paris or Shanghai or even a Field of Dreams?
If World Book Night is something you would be interested in participating in next spring, check out their website at http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/. Sign up for their newsletter. Like them on Facebook. And when the time comes, apply to be a book giver and prepare to spread the love of reading, person to person.