World Book Night: Music, Lights, Camera, Action

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World Book Night is just a little over a month away! Cramming for ideas?  Here are three bookstores’ party and promotional plans for the “great giveaway.” Among them are a mini parade of lights, TV crews filming the odyssey of the givers, and entertainment provided by local kids playing music in impromptu bands.

World Book Night is a wonderful opportunity for my store to reach beyond our four walls and effect positive change in our community,” said Lanora Haradon of Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon, Wisconsin.

Next Chapter has created a display of WBN titles and will host a World Book Night party on April 22. “We will be serving refreshments and be handing the givers their boxes with a bit of ceremony,” Haradon said. ”A reporter from the local Fox 6 affiliate will be here with a camera crew that night. We are going to have the givers go up to the mic and tell everyone where they are going to give away their books and why.” Fox 6 will also be sending out crews to follow a couple of givers on Monday.

Petunia’s Place in Fresno, California, wanted to “be part of WBN when we realized that it could be a marvelous way to highlight and promote the value of reading,” said co-owner Debbie Manning.“As an independent locally owned bookstore, our mission is broader than just selling books. We want to nurture the love of reading within our community because we believe that books can transform lives. We believe WBN offers us a unique way to celebrate a community of readers and to expand that community.”

Store staff is busy planning a special event for customers when they come to pick up their books. Petunia’s Place will be decorated with WBN poster, and WBN books and givers will have time to meet and talk about why they chose their book. “We will be acknowledging and celebrating their decision to participate in WBN as a way to share the joy of literacy,” said Manning. “We are inviting local authors to share in this celebration, thereby acknowledging their contribution to fostering literate lives.”

The bookstore is planning an attention-grabbing event. “Each person will receive a bookmark as well as a special ribbon noting them as book lovers who love to share the joy of reading with others,” Manning said. “We will ceremoniously bring out the boxes of books one by one, announcing the name of each giver. Each person will also receive a necklace that lights up, so that when everyone leaves with their book boxes, they will parade out of the store giving light in the evening darkness just as the books will give light to the readers who receive them.”

Petunia’s Place will also be encouraging givers to send an e-mail reporting their experiences of sharing the books. “We plan to post selected quotes and pictures on our website and Facebook, thereby encouraging others to participate next year!”

“The response in our community has been great!” said Lynne Almeida of Spellbinder Books & Coffee in Bishop, California. “We do have a display in the store with many of the books and have put up the World Book Night poster in the window, too.  We have had people coming in and calling the store, just to say they’re excited to get their various ’giver’ e-mails, and with questions and ideas on how they would like to give away their books.”

Spellbinder, which in a “small community of 10,000 souls,” has 24 givers. The store plans to host a   planning/questions/answers night in late March. “We’re thinking we’ll have some snacks and maybe even some of the kids playing music, too,” said Almeida.

Giveaway locations for participants in the Spellbinder community are widespread. “Someone mentioned the senior center and another person wants to go to a school that’s about 30 miles out from town in a tiny community,”  Alemida explained. Others have plans to go to the hospital, or simply door-to-door in a neighborhood.

Spellbinder’s outreach has spawned another WBN group. “Here in our long, narrow valley that’s quite sparsely populated (total population of 18,000 in our county of over 10,000 square miles), a group of people in the towns of Lone Pine and Independence, about an hour south of us, read my initial World Book Night e-newsletter and banded together with their library to have a whole second Owens Valley WBN cluster!”