Carl Lennertz, Executive Director of World Book Night USA, shared this wonderful letter he received from a recipient of a book given out during WBN 2013. This story exemplifies how books expand horizons in many, and often unexpected, ways. Here’s how that happened for Bill P. from Iowa:
I wanted to tell you that I am at our local library for the first time because I received a book. I read sometimes, but not a lot. After I received and read the book I thought I could start going to our library and checking out books. I now have my first library card ever and I am 78 years old. Thank you for having this great promotion.
P.S. The library helped me do this letter on the computer because I don’t have one and I didn’t think you would be able to read my writing. I didn’t realize that there were even computers at the library. I’ve learned a lot by coming to our library and seeing what is available. I would never have done this without your World Book Night.
Supporters of World Book Night encourage those in your cities and towns to read the books that are distributed, and then to seek further books for leisure reading–whether it be from a book store, community center, friend, school, or the local library. The simple act of handing someone a book opens doors and broadens views. In 2013, givers encouraged people in more than 6,200 communities across all fifty states, reaching out to light and non-readers at a hundreds of venues: from schools to shelters, job search centers to jails, hospitals to transit hubs. They set up tables, carried boxes, pulled wagons, and even distributed copies via surfboard.
If you’d like to get involved, there are two ways to do so:
1. You can help WBN continue to put books into the hands of light and non-readers by supporting World Book Night U.S. with a year-end, tax-deductible gift. Donate online now or by sending a check to the WBN offices at 71 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10003. (And if you work for a company offering matching gifts, be sure to submit for such funds.)
2. You can also apply to be a giver in your community. Givers are members of the public who personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title on April 23. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations. Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night. On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography. Givers Applications will be accepted for WBN 2014 until January 5.
Being one of 25,000 givers who hand out half a million free books on one special night each year is an opportunity to reach people like Bill, whose lives may forever be changed by having a brand-new book pressed into his hands. And if you’re like me, your life may forever be changed, as well.
P.S. THE LIGHTHOUSE ROAD by Peter Geye is the book I’ll be giving out on April 23, 2014.
P.P.S. Bill shared his book with his brother. He, too, is getting his first library card.