Craig Nearly half the students at Moffat County High School received books for free Tuesday as part of a nationwide program to bring literature to youths.
MCHS had 12 staff members participate in World Book Night, a national campaign to distribute books to children in schools, libraries and bookstores and inspire them to read.
MCHS librarian Jim Neton said it’s an important and valuable program because reading is fighting to stay relevant among young people.
“In our electronic device-dominated society, it’s fairly important to promote reading something longer, where it creates reflection,” Neton said. “Our kids read a lot, but it’s usually more cursory, like Facebook posts and other shorter, quicker stuff. It’s important to get them reading for longer — a novel — to promote a more reflective experience.”
World Book Night has volunteers sign up, choose from an available book list and then hand out 20 books, usually to students or children who are not motivated to read or don’t have enough access to literature. The books available range from children’s ("The Phantom Tollbooth") to classics ("Fahrenheit 451") to contemporary ("Moneyball").
Nearly half a million books are distributed April 23 in celebration of William Shakespeare’s birthday. The first year for World Book Night in the U.S. was in 2012, and MCHS has been a participant both years.
Neton said eight staff members participated last year, and that number increased to 12 this year. They gave away a total of 240 books at the high school. As a librarian, he doesn’t know as many students on a personal level, which makes the experience of handing them out enjoyable.
“As the librarian, I give books to students who I don’t know,” he said. “It’s fun because 99 percent of them are thankful.”
Senior Jessi Scott received a copy of John Green’s "Looking for Alaska.” A fan of reading, Scott was appreciative of getting something she never had read before.
“I think it’s a great program because you get free books,” she said. “That is just wonderful. They can be quite expensive.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.