Students Distribute Free Books as Part of World Book Night

April 29, 2014 | Community Service, Student Event

On April 23, 2014, a group of Guttman Community College students from House 4 participated in World Book Night U.S., an ambitious campaign across America to give free, specially-printed books to light or non-readers and for those lacking easy access to books. This was the second year Guttman participated in the World Book Night; Assistant Professor of English Lori Ungemah once again coordinated the event.DSC_0117

“When I walked through the doors of Guttman last September, I ran into some second-year students from House 4, and the very first thing they asked me was, ‘Are we going to do World Book Night again this year?’ It was clear to me that the event had resonated with them. This year we wanted to bring together our first and second year students from House 4 to make it a service project they could do together,” noted Professor Ungemah.

Guttman students promoted reading by distributing 700 free copies of six different books during the early evening at Bryant Park in Manhattan. The books included:

  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim
  • Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

DSC_0055Guttman students shared their passion for reading by providing books to those without the means or access to printed books. “I think the students find it shocking that people actually want a free book, that strangers will engage them in a conversation about reading, and that they finish the evening feeling like they did something good for the City. It’s an amazing event,” affirmed Professor Ungemah.

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—William Shakespeare’s birthday–, 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 2013 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, publishers, FedEx, printers, and paper companies.

Each year, 30-35 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:

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