World Book Day (and Night) – What light through yonder window?

Photo courtesy of City Reads, who had a huge part in organising the day. Follow them on twitter here.

World Book Day (And Night) is coming up this weekend. I’m incredibly excited, which probably shows me up as a bit of a geek, but then, geeks are yet another part of the community well served by the library.

Last year, world book day was one of the best days I’ve ever had in any workplace ever.

There were a few activities going on throughout the day in Jubilee, but the most interesting for me was the book karaoke. A mixture of staff and members of the public spent the day reading excerpts from their favourite books on a stage at the front of the library. The whole room was filled with the sound of a huge variety of people, reading words they were passionate about. Such a simple idea that completely changed the environment.

All day there were people sitting and watching, and plenty of people getting caught up in the words as they popped in for a quick errand. In the spirit of karaoke, the performances were mixed ability, but it didn’t matter, as the language was there, and the fact that the readers cared about what they said mattered more than anything else.

On a more personal note though, the day helped me get over a long standing fear (or at least get better).

I’ve always been a hugely nervous public speaker, terrible at giving presentations and terrified of being on stage. World book day gave me an opportunity (two, in fact) to get over my fears for a short while, using the words of great authors as a crutch.

In the morning, me and Frank did a full mezzanine engaged performance of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. Due to the impromptuness of the performance (read from a GCSE revision guide!) I didn’t have time to get nervous, and got wrapped up enough in the beauty of the words (it seems a bit overly obvious, but Shakespeare really is quite good) that I barely even giggled once at Frank’s fabulous Juliet.

The morning’s scene left me buzzing enough to feel confident for the afternoon’s performance of my favourite poem, TS Eliot’s ‘Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock’. I stumbled a bit, but got my favourite bits out right, and felt that I’d overcome a hurdle.

The rest of the day included some beautiful performances from colleagues. Ann’s Black Beauty, Frank’s Beckett, Susy’s Second Sex, and some fantastic performances from members of the public.

The day was glorious.

It made me remember one of the reasons libraries are so great: words.

They inspire, they change lives, they excite, they invigorate, and sometimes they help you get over your fears.

Find out what’s happening for World Book Day and Night 2011 at Jubilee (and Hove, actually) at

Alex – Library Officer


About Alex

Digital comms officer
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