I’ve been waiting three hours to sit down and get a chance to tell you about the wonderful event that I participated in this evening. Tonight, April 23, 2012, is World Book Night. People across the country (and the world!) shared the love of reading with others in their communities. I first heard about World Book Night a number of months ago from a coworker (thanks Lori!) through an email. I thought, hey, I love books; I’m kind of bored right now, I’ll check it out.
I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved.
The premise is basic – decide where you want to give books away, decide which of the books you want to give, and apply! Then – you wait.
The idea of where I wanted to give away my books came to me very quickly – Quality Living Incorporated. My Aunt Peg (who I’ve written about before here) has MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Quality Living Incorporated (QLI) is where Aunt Peg lives. She’s been there since I was in high school and this amazing place is truly a blessing. Aunt Peg calls herself the mayor of QLI (no one argues with her either!) and it operates like a big family. What makes QLI the amazing place that it is isn’t the beautiful buliding (though it is). It isn’t the assortment of events and activities they offer (though I have no idea how anyone living there could ever be bored!). It is the PEOPLE.
The staff at QLI are some of the most dedicated, compassionate, and incredible people that I have had the pleasure of meeting. I can’t say that I know many of them well (I leave that up to my Mom and Grandpa), but I know them well enough to have the deepest admiration for them and what they do. Everything they do is done with compassion and respect for the residents. You can tell that they truly care about the people they work with and have built relationships that matter, not only to the residents, but to the staff members themselves. Every time I told a staff member that I was one of Peggy’s nieces, the response was a big smile. It is very clear that they care about her, and about each of the residents.
The staff at QLI are phenomenal – if anyone deserved my books for World Book Night, it was them.
Since it’s the first year I participated in World Book Night, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I showed up with my box o’ books! It was fantastic. I felt like a literary Santa Claus, walking through the halls, offices, and dining room at QLI, giving copies of The Lovely Bones to very happy and appreciative staff members. In fact, I ran out of books before I ran out of deserving staff! (Don’t worry, I suggested they pass the books around when finished.)
I only encountered one person who did not want a copy of the book (she had already read it and wanted someone else to be able to enjoy it). Everyone else was excited to get a new book. More than once, I heard the incredulous question, “I can keep it?” I was thrilled to be able to respond, “Yes! It’s yours! Enjoy!” It was SO much fun; I wished I had another three boxes of books to give away.
My key had barely turned in the ignition before I was on the phone with my sister, telling her about the wonderful experience and recruiting her. Next year – we tag team World Book Night.
As a teacher, writer, and voracious reader, the knowledge that I played a part in encouraging people to read this evening, this weekend, or this summer, is awesome. And the idea that someone who may not be a huge reader may have gone home with a book that was just begging to be read? That they could hardly wait to crack the spine open? That’s the best feeling of all.