World Book Night is an international celebration of reading and books during which a million books are given out to the public by volunteers in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the USA. Its aim is to promote adult literacy by giving away books to inspire those who have never discovered the value of reading.
Helen Loughran, one of a team of Leeds Met Library staff who volunteered to share their love of reading, took part in the event for the second time. She contacted Leeds Station to ask for permission to donate books there partly because it offered an opportunity to engage commuters, and also because the location fitted her choice of book: Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife.
Twenty-five titles are shortlisted and specially printed for the event, and 'givers' from the public apply to give out a particular book from the list that has special meaning for them, preferably in an unusual location that will reach people who don't habitually read. Each giver receives 24 copies of their chosen book which they pick up from their local bookshop or library.
Helen explained: "Although we went as a team from the Libraries we all had to apply as individuals. I applied to be a giver because I love the idea of sharing a book you've enjoyed: it's like being in a book club. I chose The Time Traveler's Wife because it features a non-stereotypical sexy librarian! We tell people why our books have inspired us and encourage them to pass the book on when they've finished it. Last year we had a tremendous response and exhausted our supplies within ten minutes! We also made sure we gave copies to station staff, for instance the people working in the coffee shops."
The event was very successful again this year. Library graduate trainee, Jessica Waite (pictured), particularly enjoyed the event, saying she wished they'd had 1,000 rather than 100 books to give out. Helen Loughran commented: "Everyone we gave the books to was really appreciative. Even in the world of digital/e-books, for those of us who love reading there is nothing nicer than being given a brand new book!"
The other titles given out by our staff were: