Square Books is participating in the second annual World Book Night in an effort to encourage reading by those who do not regularly read or do not have access to books.
Partnering with the Lafayette County Literacy Council, Square Books will hold a reception on April 19 at 5 p.m. at Off Square Books. The local book distributors will arrive, meet the other givers and share stories about the people to whom they are giving their books.
On April 23, which also happens to be William Shakespeare’s birthday, the givers will distribute their books to the recipient communities.
World Book Night, which began in the U.K. and Ireland in 2011, is celebrating its second year in the U.S.
According to World Book Night’s website, the nonprofit organization offers 30 books chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors waive their royalties, and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the World Book Night U.S. editions of each book.
After the book titles are announced, individuals apply to distribute 20 copies of a particular book to their communities. Once chosen, the givers pick up the books from a participating bookstore or library of their choice.
Some of the books’ authors include John Grisham, Ray Bradbury, Tina Fey and Mark Twain, among others.
“Oxford is a very literary community with its rich literary history, along with the university, as well as the many authors that come often to do book signings and attend events,” said Alissa Lilly, Square Books special events coordinator.
Distributors, who are chosen based on their ability to reach out to their community, donate to a charitable organization, to people who scarcely read or do not read at all due to an inability to obtain books and especially to those who need the assistance.
Square Books views the event as a way to bring the entire community together to enjoy literary art, according to Lilly.
“As a community we are supportive of the literary art. We want to share that love and bring it to those who aren’t part of it. We give to both adults as well as kids, hoping to instill lifetime love for books and literature,” she said.
Although any bookstore can participate, Square Books is leading the way again after having a solid turnout in its first year.
Last year 15 participants distributed books to many different groups throughout Oxford. Among those were the Azalea and Hermitage Gardens assisted living homes, the Lafayette High School football team, the Boys and Girls Club of Batesville, the Pontotoc library, high school students in Holly Springs and the St. Peter’s Episcopal inmate literacy program, a program that works with local jail inmates.