Mass Leeds book giveaway aims to inspire reading rediscovery

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Hundreds of free books will be given away in south Leeds on Saturday in a bid to encourage adults to read and rediscover local libraries.

The event, part of the World Book Night campaign to appeal to those who have got out of the habit of reading for pleasure, will take place at the central atrium of the White Rose Shopping Centre, in Churwell, from 11am to 2pm.

The free book handout comes amid declining library visitor numbers and national cuts in funding to library services. In Leeds 15 library service points have closed since 2010 but 34 remain open in the city.

In a bid to revive residents’ love for books, volunteers from Leeds City Council’s south Leeds team will give away titles from top authors including Carol Ann Duffy, J Paul Henderson, Holly Bourne, SJ Parris and Lucy Diamond.

Jas Dhariwal-Holmes, a council community hub manager, said: “It is great to be able to bring this event for adult readers to the heart of a busy shopping centre.”

Some of the books being handed out on Saturday have been specially written for the World Book Night appeal.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Love Poems’ and ‘A Baby at the Beach Café’, Lucy Diamond’s specially written follow-up to her best selling novel ‘The Beach Café’, are among the titles being issued.

Francesca Simpson, marketing manager at the White Rose, added: “We are delighted to be working alongside Leeds City Council to support this important initiative and we hope that as many people as possible will take advantage of the books.”

World Book Night, which is run in conjunction with The Reading Agency charity, has proved a huge success since it began in 2011.

Research suggests that the event has encouraged previous recipients of free books throughout the UK to read on a more regular basis.

For details visit worldbooknight.org or white-rose.co.uk.