Today sees the celebration of World Book Day 2011 in the UK and Ireland while in most other countries World Book Day is held on 23 April every year. It is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who come together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of everyone.
A main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading. But it’s not just for children, World Book Day celebrates the joy of reading and there are many activities and events organised around the country for both adults and children.
I was fortunate enough to be involved in World Book Day 2008 when my crime thriller novel, In Cold Daylight, was shortlisted for the World Book Day Prize 2008. Sadly the competition is no longer running but it was a great way to involve the public. In Cold Daylight reached the Top Ten Best Reads voted on by the public and made it to number three in the charts. I gave a number of talks and media interviews during World Book Day that year to both adult and teenage audiences.
For World Book Day 2011 I think we should remember the vital part our public libraries play in enriching the lives of many. They offer a diverse range of free books and access to information, a community support and a lifeline to young and old and anyone in between. I am eternally grateful to the local library of my childhood because without it I doubt I would ever have discovered the joy of reading and writing.
My message for World Book Day 2011 is to a government intent on destroying our public libraries - DON’T. Please let us continue to celebrate books, and reading by keeping our public libraries open, well-stocked and manned by professionals who do a great job.