The goal: to distribute, free of charge, half a million books to the general public and especially underserved readers — people in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, etc. Volunteers choose the location to drop off the books. They also choose the title to be distributed from a list provided by the organizers of World Book Night, a program that began in the U.K. and this year comes to the U.S.A. You the public are invited on Friday, April 20th, to meet the Memphis-area World Book Night volunteers at the Booksellers at Laurelwood, one of the city’s leading partners in the project.
A number of the store’s employees will serve as volunteers too, and that includes events coordinator Carley Cianciolo, who plans to drop off copies of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks at the Wings Cancer Foundation at the West Clinic, where her father was once a patient and is today a volunteer.
Friday night’s event at the store is, according to Cianciolo, an opportunity for Memphians to get to know the World Book Night program and the people who have signed on as givers. “Volunteers will have a chance to tell us why they picked a book, what it means to them, and where they’re going to pass out the books,” Cianciolo says. “We’ll have refreshments too. Very casual.
“We’ll also have all the World Book Night titles on display, if people want to buy their own copies, hand them out themselves,” Cianciolo added. “Everybody’s welcome.”