Monday, April 23, 2012

World Book Night - What a Blast!

Today is World Book Night, USA... the first-ever. This idea started in the UK and spread to the USA. The goal is to give away one million books in one day. Free! The organization chose 30 books. Authors willingly shared them free, publishers printed a special edition free, shippers sent them free to drop-off points, volunteers picked them up and handed them out, free!! What a great concept!

I gave away Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. It's a story about a family before, during and after Katrina in New Orleans. I loved this book and was glad my request to give this one away was honored. First I stopped at McDonald's drive-through and gave away two. Then I went to Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul. They serve homeless people, and I knew there would be plenty of people in their front yard and hanging around the entrance. I quickly gave away 8 books there. Some people were hesitant; some said "no" right away; others waited for me to explain and then gladly took it. I wondered if some folks assumed I was handing out Bibles and didn't want to hear any more from me.

After Dorothy Day Center I went over to the State Capitol. There were a bunch of people on the front steps. I thought they were protestors, and wondered what the issue was. Turns out it was school kids, waiting for their school bus to pick them up. It arrived, and I offered a book to the driver, but he declined. So I gave my last ten books to some adults sitting on the Capitol steps, a well-dressed legislator arriving to work, a person manning the information desk, a woman who was leaving the desk, another man who approached and was wearing something like a boy scout uniform, people of various ages and stations in life who were gathering in the Rotunda for a program of some sort.

And then I ran out of books.

It was so much fun! Most people were happy to receive a free book. The best comments I received were these:
1) "Great! I'll read it on the bus on the way home!" (a man at the State Capitol)
2) "Yes! a book about Katrina!" (woman near the Dorothy Day Center)

I gave the books to a variety of ages, both men and women, and people of at least three different ethnic groups. I am happy with how it went and hope I can do it again next year. And I really hope those 20 people love the book and maybe share it with others!

each pin represents a book-giver volunteer in this region


Sextant said...

Cool idea. Sounds like you had a good time handing out books.

Anonymous said...

What a fun thing to do! I love the variety of reactions you got. A book is such a nice gift.

laurie said...


laurie said...

and Zeitoun is a GREAT book.

Patty said...

I just found out about this and was trying to think of places I could hand out books. I found your blog through Google. It sounds like fun and I'm going to sign up. Thanks, Carol!