NCC Students Distribute Books in the Rockaways for World Book Night U.S.

NCC students gather outside Rockaway Boulevard station in Queens to distribute free books during the World Book Night campaign.

NCC students gather outside Rockaway Boulevard station in Queens to distribute free books during the World Book Night campaign.

On April 23, 2013, a group of New Community College at CUNY’s first-year students participated in World Book Night U.S., an ambitious campaign to give free, specially-printed books to light or non-readers across America. NCC student volunteers promoted reading by handing out free copies of four different books in the late afternoon at the Rockaway Boulevard subway station in Rockaway, Queens.

Assistant Professor of English Lori Ungemah coordinated the World Book Night event with first-year student Asha John, who lives in the Arverne section of Rockaway, Queens. Asha’s home sustained immense damage from Hurricane Sandy. Since many residents lost their personal possessions, including their books, in the Rockaways, Lori and Asha felt that distributing free books in the neighborhood would be an excellent way to support the community.  

With support from the Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NCC students distributed copies of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (in Spanish), Favorite American Poems (in Large Print) edited by Paul Negri, and The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan (Young Adult novel)—four books selected to interest a broad audience. Students shared their passion for reading by providing books to those without the means or access to a printed book.

“The volunteer book givers are wonderful, generous and passionate people. World Book Night is not a random giveaway, but a focused attempt to reach people in communities who would benefit from the gift of a book,” said WBN U.S. Executive Director Carl Lennertz.

About World Book Night

World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person.  Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers. In 2012 World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Germany.  World Book Night in the U.S. is a non-profit organization and is supported by publishers, Barnes & Noble, the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, Ingram Content Group, FedEx, printers, and paper companies.

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. After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. For more information about World Book Night, please visit:

About The New Community College at CUNY

The New Community College at CUNY is an urban public institution located in midtown Manhattan that offers associate degree programs in an environment that nurtures student success. Our goal is to increase the graduation rate for our students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college. The NCC connects field experiences with classroom learning in a structured and supportive environment. All students begin in the Summer Bridge Program and engage full-time in a city-centered first-year experience before starting their major coursework in one of six degree programs. Instructional teams comprising faculty members, student success advocates, graduate coordinators, peer mentors and library staff create a rich classroom environment complemented by an integrated advisement program to help students stay on the path to graduation. To learn more about The New Community College at CUNY, visit