Its potentially a big week for books. Thursday is the UK's World Book Day. Always thought it was odd that we didn't fit with the rest of the world which holds WBD on April 23rd, but its to do with schools & Easter hols I believe. That aside, World Book Day in the UK has seen massive publisher support for children's reading and in recent years the launch of a new set of Quick Reads.
Quick Reads are a great series of books for people who have never had, or who have lost the habit of reading. Each year 10 titles are published on World Book Day and libraries and learning organisations work hard to get them into the hands of people who may not discover them on their own.
The list of new titles for this year can be seen on the QR website. I notice this year's list includes books by top borrowed author James Patterson, alongside former Monty Python star Terry Jones and a Martial Arts Adventure from Benjamin Zephania. So there should be some really varied and interesting reading to be found.
WBD will be closely followed on Saturday by the first World Book Night
The intention of WBN is that a million books will be given away by a "army of passionate book givers". While there have been some murmurings of scepticism about this venture by some booksellers, writers and librarians ( after all libraries are full of free books all the time- the only difference is we ask you to bring them back), it does seem that it should be successful at getting books into people's hands in some unusual and imaginative ways. Book givers have been recruited in sufficient numbers and certainly from where I am in Manchester, there is a long list of givers who have opted to collect their books from libraries and take them who knows where?
I am excited to be supporting a project which hopefully really will get books into the hands of people who are not already regular book buyers, though we are told, are often voracious readers. Manchester Libraries are supporting The Mustard Tree , a charity which supports homeless and marginalised people. The library service is working in partnership with the Mustard Tree to present an open mic night at which clients of the charity can perform their work. The library service is delighted that the BBC has chosen this event as one to highlight on their special BBC 2 World Book Night programme.
Around the NW region there are plenty of other WBN events as well. It makes me proud as a librarian to see so many library staff, currently working under great pressure, still willing and able to pick up an external opportunity like this and create lively events which will bring books to more readers.
I shall try to give as much publicity as I can to all the events taking place "on my patch".