Pay It Forward

Prendergast Library has teamed up with 16 Chautauqua County residents who have volunteered to spread the love of reading by distributing books to those who may not read regularly.

The 16 area residents participating in this year’s program are among 25,000 volunteers across America who give away nearly 500,000 books in more than 6,000 towns and cities on World Book Night, which is set for Tuesday.

Prendergast Library’s Anne Plyler met with several book givers on Wednesday evening for a reception. The givers picked up 20 copies of a book they had previously read and selected to distribute. They will then take the books to various locations across the county on Tuesday. Some of the locations givers have appeared at in the past include: hospital waiting rooms, nursing homes, food pantries and sports arenas.

According to Plyler, special projects librarian, the event’s tagline says it all, “Sharing the love of reading, person to person.”

“As a library we’re in the business of promoting reading and a love of literature – it’s a perfect fit for our mission,” said Plyler.

Bonnie Bowen, who participated last year, decided to distribute “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” She found out about the program last year via a Facebook group that a friend of hers started called “The Book Report,” which facilitates discussion based on user readings.

“As a first-timer last year I felt like I should have done a better job after reading about how creative some of the other givers were,” said Bowen. “Last year I was at WCA Hospital in the waiting room for part of the time. You engage people in conversation about whether they like to read, and we’re supposed to give the books to those who don’t normally read.”

Judy Shaffer, another giver who participated last year, selected “City of Thieves.” Shaffer is an adult community education coordinator for Erie-2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES.

“This year I brought in a couple others to be givers who saw the results of the book last year,” said Shaffer.

Shaffer was joined by her colleague, Beth Bradley, who is new as a giver this year. Bradley selected the book entitled “Salvage The Bones.”

“We work with a lot of people with GEDs and those who are learning English. So, I think this will be something important for them to help develop vocabulary,” said Bradley.

Other givers include: Lori McEntire, Tess Schmigiel, Carrie Wolfgang, Laurel Lees, Mandee Wyrick, Gael Grossman, Stephanie Parsons, Jenniffer Maslakowski, Joshua Tedone, Debra Siracuse, Dale Yerpe, Jill Rager and LeeAnn Sunderlin.

Other books selected for local distribution include: “Tender Bar,” “Alchemist,” “Looking for Alaska,” “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Middle School,” “Montana Sky,” “My Antonia,” “Playing for Pizza” and “Population 485.”

The Spanish version of “Alchemist,” “El Alquimista,” will be distributed to Spanish-speaking students at Jamestown High School.

According to the event’s official website,, the event is held each year on April 23 because it is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare’s birthday. It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died the same day as Shakespeare, April 23, 1616. In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one.

Registration to be a giver has ended for the 2013 event, but those interested can sign-up for the 2014 event at For more information search for “World Book Night” on Facebook or on Twitter.