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Park Rapids to participate in World Book Night event

World Book Night entails the distribution of free books to readers who might otherwise go without. Twenty copies of chosen books are given out to the reader, with hopes that person will share all the copies. Local bookstores act as "host sites" for the program. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Park Rapids area residents are invited to participate locally in a national event - World Book Night.

Those interested in giving out free books to those who might not usually have access to books or reading are asked to fill out an application to participate by Wednesday, Jan. 23 at Beagle Books in Park Rapids will be a World Book Night drop-off site for the event, which is April 23.

Each year, 30 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers.

World Book Night U.S. vets the applications and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.

Beagle Books will be a host site for World Book Night and events are being planned for before and after World Book Night, said Sally Wizik Wills, of Beagle Books.

April 23 is the UNESCO International Day of the Book, as well as Shakespeare's birthday. It was also chosen in honor of Miguel de Cervantes, who died on April 23, 1616 (the same day as Shakespeare). In the Catalan region of Spain, the day is celebrated by giving a book and a flower to a loved one.

World Book Night was first celebrated in the UK and Ireland in 2011; in 2012, it was also celebrated in the USA and Germany.

In 2012, almost 80,000 people gave out over 2.5 million books in four different countries. U.S. book givers personally handed out half a million printed books in 5,800 towns and cities across the country.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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