A record number of people locally will be participating in a program to give away books on William Shakespeare’s birthday.
On Wednesday, the James Prendergast Library, located at 509 Cherry St., Jamestown, was the location book givers participating in World Book Night U.S. picked up the books they will be delivering around April 23. This was the third year the library was a pickup location for the national campaign to give away free, specially printed books across America.
Anne Plyler, James Prendergast Library special projects librarian, said the first two years the library participated in the program there were 12 to 15 people donating their time to give away books. However, this year the library had around 30 people sign up to be book givers.
“I know the library was connected with givers on their website (www.prendergastlibrary.org) and on its Facebook page,” Plyler said. “I think social media contributed to more people knowing about the program.”
Nationwide, it is estimated that 25,000 volunteers will give away 500,000 paperback books on the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Sample titles are Garrison Keillor’s “Pontoon,” Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point,” Carl Hiaasen’s “Hoot,” and Solomon Northrup’s “12 Years a Slave.” The books are specially printed paperbacks, and intended recipients are light or nonreaders. World Book Night was successfully launched in the United Kingdom in 2011, and first celebrated in the United States in 2012.
Bonnie Bowen of Cherry Creek has participated in the program for three years. Last year, she gave out books in the waiting room for the emergency room at WCA Hospital. This year, she is giving books at Hollyloft, 600 Fairmount Ave., during one of the business’ bike rider nights.
“It just cool giving away free stuff,” she said.
Jan Dekoff, Dunkirk Free Library director, said this is the first year she is participating in the program. She said the books she will be giving away will be available at the library, 536 Central Ave., Dunkirk.
“I think anything that gets books into the hands of nontraditional readers is a good thing,” she said.
Michele Gerring of Jamestown is participating for the first time, as well. She said World Book Night U.S. gets people excited about reading, which is an initiative she can support.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to encourage the habit of reading,” she said.
Although it is too late to be a book giver this year, those who would like to participate in the future can sign up to receive news about World Book Night 2015. Information is available at www.worldbooknight.org, www.facebook.com/worldbooknightusa or twitter.com/wbnamerica.