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Off the shelf @ your local library - WBN 2013


By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

  I have something shocking to say. You may need to sit down. Ready? I have a friend who doesn’t read. Horrifying, right? It’s not that she can’t read, she just doesn’t. She’ll be the first to tell you that she loves television and movies and the news, just not books. We make an awesome team for trivia games; she knows all the pop culture stuff and I can (mostly) answer the literature questions.

  My friend is very bright and owns a successful small business. She just thinks books are boring. To people like her, I always say, “You just haven’t found the right book.”

  That’s where World Book Night comes in. Last year was the first-ever World Book Night in the U.S. and the Henry County Library System participated along with several of our employees and patrons. It was the most fun I had at work all year, and now is the time to register for WBN 2013!

  What is it? World Book Night is an opportunity to give away free books to reluctant readers. The WBN organization is a non-profit supported by publishers, book sellers, and the American Library Association. The program supplies you with 20 free copies of a book and you give them away to light or non-readers on the evening of April 23. The goal is simply to share the love of reading, and to promote the value of printed books, bookstores and libraries to everyone, year-round.

  How does it work? Go to and look over the list of available books. There are 30 from which to choose, all selected from current and classic bestseller lists. Pick the top three books you would like to share with others.

  Next, fill out a short application to be a book giver and tell where you plan to give your books away. You must be at least 16, a US resident, and able to pick up your free books at a local bookstore or library. The McDonough library is distribution point for the books, so you won’t have to travel far. If selected, you will receive 20 copies of a favorite book to give away in your community. Nationwide, a million books will be distributed.

  This year’s options include bestsellers by John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Alexander McCall Smith, Terry Pratchett and others. There are several outstanding titles for teens, and for the first time the list includes books for older kids, such as The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. The list includes fiction and nonfiction, classics and current bestsellers. There’s something for every literary taste.

  Last year I signed up to be a book giver for The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I contacted the coach of the girls’ soccer team at a local high school and got permission to offer my copies to the athletes at the end of practice on World Book Night. It took the girls a moment to realize that I was actually giving away books, no strings attached, but when they did, I was mobbed. At that time the movie was playing in theaters, and many of them admitted they had seen the movie but not read the book. The best moment was when the coach sheepishly asked if I had enough copies for him to have one. Way to lead by example, coach!

  If there’s a better way to get people excited about reading than by giving away a million free books, no one has thought of it yet.  As for my friend, she’s not a reader yet, but she will be, starting April 23!



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