For immediate release | April 16, 2013

Librarians help spread the joy and love of reading on World Book Night, April 23

CHICAGO - Librarians are helping to spread the joy and love of reading by taking part in World Book Night on April 23.

Held in the United States, as well as the U.K. and Ireland, the initiative aims at promoting the value of reading, printed books, bookstores and libraries to everyone year round.

World Book Night seeks out reluctant adult readers wherever they are, in towns and cities and in such public settings as nursing homes, food pantries, low income schools and mass transit centers, according to organizers.

In the U.S., a half million free books will be handed out in towns and cities across America all on one day — April 23, 2013 — by enlisting 25,000 volunteer book lovers to help promote reading by going into their communities and personally handing out specially printed copies to light or non-readers and to those without the means or access to printed books.

Libraries are among the supporters of the event, which is celebrated on UNESCO’s (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday. It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one.

There will be 2,000 World Book Night host locations, with more than 900 libraries participating.

Among the libraries participating is the Plymouth (Minn.) Library, which will hold a pre-World Book Night reception for the 2013 volunteers. At the reception, the volunteers will pick up their books, meet other volunteers, exchange ideas and enjoy World Book Night videos and light refreshments.

“The staff and the Friends of the Plymouth Library are excited to promote the love of books and reading as the first Hennepin County library to participate in World Book Night US,” said Librarian Trudy Hanus in a recent article. “We look forward to giving away copies of our favorite books and hope to bring smiles to many faces on April 23.”

Also taking part is the Frederick County (Md.) Public Libraries (FPCL). Some of the volunteers in our community will be picking up their books at the C. Burr Artz Public Library and sharing them in locations as diverse as hospitals, ice skating rinks, mass transit, nursing homes, schools and food pantries.

“We at Frederick County Public Libraries are proud to be a partner in World Book Night U.S. for a second year as part of our 2013 Frederick Reads events,” said Darrell Batson, FCPL director, on the library system's website.

Plans are set for 12 simultaneous World Book Night Kick-Off Events around the country on the evening of Monday, April 22 featuring WBN authors. One of the anchor events will feature Ann Patchett and James Patterson, the event’s honorary chairs, appearing together at Parnassus Books in Nashville that evening.

James Patterson said: “In my experience, when people like what they are doing, they do more of it. This is the genius of World Book Night — it gets people reading by connecting them with amazing, enjoyable books. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

“I’m very proud to be a part of World Book Night,” Ann Patchett added. “As both a writer and a bookseller, I’m all in favor of getting books into the hands of people who might not otherwise have access to them.”

Among the 30 titles on the giveaway list are “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, “My Antonio” by Willa Cather, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “City of Thieves” by David Benioff, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier, “Bossypants” by Tina Fey, “Playing for Pizza” by John Grisham and “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.

“This isn’t a best-books-of-all-time list; these are contemporary or classic books that appeal to a wide range of new readers. We looked for diversity and variety in all things: subject matter, age level, gender, as well as ethnic and geographic considerations. Last year’s givers also got to nominate books. This is a beautiful mix with, I hope, some old friends and nice surprises! We believe that the wide range of books being offered will appeal to our volunteer book givers and, in turn, to a half million new readers,” said Carl Lennertz, executive director of World Book Night U.S.”

The American Library Association (ALA) is among the supporters of the event, along with book publishers, the American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Ingram Publisher Services and FedEx.

Lennertz credited the work done by booksellers and librarians, printers and binder, as well as authors.

“There are a lot of people in need in this country, and the givers’ desire to share the joy of a book is something to behold. Whether headed to a nursing home or underfunded school, or, yes, to be given to pub patrons, bus riders, or hotel co-workers, we are seeing an enormous range of thoughtful locations proposed for seeking out light and non-readers,” he said.


Steve Zalusky

Manager of Communications

ALA Public Information Office

(312) 280-1546