On World Book Night, four heads of library services in England share what being a WBN “giver” means to them, in their communities. In 2014 10,000 volunteers distributed 250,000 books. More on World Book Night here: http://www.worldbooknight.org
Head of Libraries, Culture and Heritage
Devon County Council
I’m really looking forward to being one of the thousands of people across the country selected to be a giver on World Book Night. I’ll be giving away copies of Annabel Pitcher’s ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’ to residents, businesses and young people in the St Thomas area of Exeter. I’ll be and and about in the area with Lee Rawlings, the supervisor of St Thomas Library, who seems to know everyone in the local community. Lee is a natural advocate for libraries – he never stops getting out and about in his local area, telling people what their library has to offer.
As the Head of Devon’s library service, as President of the Society of Chief Librarians and as a mum to 2 young daughters, I truly know the value and importance of reading but often find myself in the slightly perverse situation of not having as much time as I’d like to read and to share and talk about books with other people. World Book Night gives me a great opportunity to connect with others – in particular, to find people who may not be turned into books or who may have difficulty reading.
There are two things that I particularly love about World Book Night: firstly, the sense you get of being part of a much larger movement of people across the whole country who want to celebrate and share their love of reading. I’ve been following the WBN social media feeds and it’s great to feel part of something bigger and to be inspired by the passion and energy of volunteers the length and breadth of he country.
Second, I love the sheer joy of connecting with people you don’t know and offering them something of value – without any strings attached. It’s a reminder of the values that underpin public libraries – particularly of social justice and equity. It’s great that libraries are so integral to World Book Night and fantastic too that The Reading Agency now manages and runs World Book Night. Working together under the umbrella of the Universal Reading Offer, the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and The Reading Agency have made World Book Night a key moment in the annual calendar of reading promotions that libraries take part in.
Follow my tweets @CiaraEastell on Thursday to see how I get on.
Community Cultural Services Manager
South Gloucesteshire Council
SCL Health Lead
I will be giving out copies of Skellig by David Almond to parents of young teenagers at work and my football team with the request that they read it themselves and then share the book with their children. It’s a brilliant book about a relationship between a boy and what appears to be an angel but in the form of a grumpy old man and will appeal to both children and adults
I am always pleased when a book I have read appears on the list of WBN and in recent years have chosen books for teenagers – last year I chose The Recruit by Robert Muchamore. WBN provides a unique opportunity for people to talk about books and one of the best environments is within families where parents and children can discuss a book together. It shows children that the joy of reading is for everyone of any age and books such as Skellig, which leaves some questions unanswered, is a perfect book for sharing and discussing.
Tony Durcan OBE
Assistant Director—Digital Newcastle
Newcastle City Council
My book is Andy Weir’s ‘Martian’, and I will be giving it away at a sports centre (Eldon Leisure) in Newcastle city centre.
I’m not usually a science fiction reader but this was so enthusiastically recommended for the WBN list that I wanted to read it and share it. I think WBN is a great event, providing a really key opportunity for individuals to share books they like to read, and to talk about the how much they have enjoyed the.
I’ll also be giving a personal recommendation, The Light Years….the first Cazalet novel by Elizabeth Jane Howard, to a local councillor.
Neil Machines, Manchester Head of Library and Information Services, will be gifting copies of Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. Manchester Libraries one of the flagship events this year with performance poets Tony Walsh and Steph Pike and a full set from local band The Slow Readers Club. The 200 tickets for the event are now ‘sold out’.