This year, more than 400 books were distributed across Gibraltar as part of the first International Book Giving Day.
The initiative was brought to the Rock by online children’s book retailer Ashley Henwood (pictured here in the middle) of The Storyteller Gibraltar.
YGTV caught up with Ashley to find out what International Book Giving Day is all about and how it came to be in Gibraltar.
What is International Book Giving Day?
Ashley: It's held on 14 February each year, and it all started in USA during 2012 by a book blogger. She saw it as a perfect opportunity to get books into the hands of as many children as possible, and since then it has grown into an international event with countries such as UK, France, Germany, Australia, and many others participating.
Gibraltar has never taken part so we saw this as a wonderful opportunity to get involved. The Storyteller is an online children's bookshop so we were able to source the books using our suppliers in UK, but we needed help from our community in order to do so. Sadly we weren't able to get many people volunteering to hand out the books, but we didn't let this dampen our spirits and we managed to do it all singlehandedly.
Who received books and what type of books were they?
Ashley: We distributed books to Varyl Begg Preschool, Jellybabies Nursery, Women's Refuge, John Mackintosh Hall Library, Primary Care Dental Clinic, Primary Care Child Health (Baby) Clinic, and we will be going over to Rainbow Ward at the Hospital next week.
The books we sourced were brand new children's books ranging from baby board books, early readers, mid-grade chapter books, and Young Adult fiction. We were also fortunate enough to receive some 'as new' books from the general public.
How did you collect the books for this event? Was it through donations and charity?
Ashley: We were fortunate enough to get monetary donations from the general public, although not an awful lot. Nevertheless, some companies came forward and made the day a success! The generous companies we worked with were GJBS, Gibtelecom, Bland Group International, Eastgate and AR Massage & Rehabilitation. We then used these donations to source brand new books from our UK suppliers and arrange to have them delivered by freight in time for the event. We also received some 'as new' books, as mentioned above, and these were also distributed.
What do you hope to achieve through the event? Is it to promote more reading among children?
Ashley: Yes, most definitely! Places such as the Women's Refuge have several children staying over (different age groups), and yet they had no books at all. Plus we know that schools, nurseries and libraries always benefit from receiving new books as they go through so much wear and tear. We saw Book Giving Day as a great opportunity to give something back to our community, and what's better than gifting the love of books and reading?