Boxes of books sat piled high at Barnes & Noble at The Collection on Tuesday night.
Their contents — which included such literary classics as “Fahrenheit 451” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” — will be distributed throughout the community over the next couple weeks to people who may otherwise not have one.
Nearly 90 people volunteered to get a box of the books for distribution through World Book Night, an effort that encourages reading by sharing free books.
Forsyth County school social worker Nicole Lea was among the “book givers.” She said she was excited to be able to give students free books they could keep.
“I think it’s great because it’s getting reading out there to people who may not be reading for pleasure or who may not have the finances to come and grab a book at Barnes & Noble,” she said.
For the first time, Literacy Forsyth joined with Barnes & Noble to take part in the event.
Literacy Forsyth is a nonprofit that supports adult education programs offered at Lanier Technical College in the county. The programs help adults who are learning to read, those who need to get their GED and those whose native language isn’t English.
Many of the World Book Night gifts will be given to students in the programs.
Rebecca Eller, one of the program’s instructors, said she was excited to share books with her students.
“It’s something really nice for a lot of my students,” she said. “It’s always nice to receive something that another person likes and to be able to talk about it with them.”
World Book Night also kicked off a book fair event at Barnes & Noble with all proceeds benefitting Literacy Forsyth.
Young readers had the chance to meet characters such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Cat in the Hat and Luna the Tooth Fairy through the book fair.
Throughout this week, anyone who makes a purchase at the store can ask to have a portion of the profits go to Literacy Forsyth.
Annaliza Thomas, the organization’s director, said she was grateful for the chance to work with Barnes & Noble on World Book Night and the book fair.
“They approached us about this so they deserve all the credit for doing something good for the community and our program,” she said.
The partnership with Literacy Forsyth also helped the retailer, said Sharon Castleberry, who led the effort for the store.
“We had 87 people volunteer to be book givers, so that made us one of the largest World Book Night distribution locations in the nation,” Castleberry said.
Each box contained 20 books, so as Thomas noted, that’s “a lot of books out in the community.”
Added Lea: “Hopefully, we’ll increase the love of pleasure reading and just reading for fun.”