Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

April 24, 2013

Library spreads the word on reading

Nicole Dominique
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Helen Matthes Library staff were able to share their love of reading — beyond the library — on Tuesday during World Book Night.

This was the library's first time involved in the international event.

“We were honored to be selected,” said Adult Services Manager Johnna Schultz. “It (the selection process) is competitive.”

Libraries, bookstores and individual groups apply to be part of World Book Night, explaining to the organization why their community would be a great candidate.

Library employees split into pairs to distribute free copies of books selected by the organization. Of the 30 books available to choose were “Playing for Pizza,” “The Worst Hard Time,” “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Mudbound,” “The Alchemist” and “Glaciers.”

The books are made available free of charge from participating publishers that make a special batch of books for the event.

The books are a blend of classics and contemporaries, and Spanish versions are sometimes available.

Schultz said the city's location made it a great place to distribute the free books.

“Effingham is such a great place for this,” she said, referencing the motto Crossroads of Opportunity. “We love to share our enthusiasm for books with everyone. We're excited to give to the travelers.”

The groups covered the downtown area and government buildings, doctors' offices, parks, radio stations, the Amtrak station and more.

One goal of World Book Night is to get people reading and offer books they might not otherwise get the chance to read.

“We were really excited to offer this to our community,” Schultz said, adding it can be a challenge keeping the community engaged in reading.

About 6,000 cities nationwide participated in the event.

Library Director Amanda McKay said World Book Night is huge in Europe, and in recent years gained popularity in the United States.

All in all, library employees enjoyed sharing their passion with others and fielding questions about the books.

“We had a lot of great questions and feedback. They were really easy to hand out,” Schultz said.

For those who did not get a copy of the afore mentioned titles, many are available for check out at the library.

For a complete list of the books distributed nationwide, or for more information on World Book Night, visit www.worldbooknight.com.

Nicole Dominique can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or at nicole.dominique@effinghamdailynews.com.