Thousands of Travelling Books to be given away

4 September 2014

Volunteers will be out on the streets in towns and cities around the country next week to give away more than nine thousand books.

This is the fourth year of Travelling Books, a project run by Literacy Aotearoa and New Zealand Post to support adult literacy. The brand new books will be handed out to the public for free in the week beginning 8 September with a request that readers pass them on to another reader when finished.

A function was held at Government House in Wellington on 3 September to celebrate the beginning of this year’s Travelling Books programme. It was hosted by the Governor General, Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae.

“Travelling Books enables New Zealanders who might not always get the opportunity to access books to access them freely. We will be handing out 9,350 new books,” says Literacy Aotearoa Chief Executive, Bronwyn Yates.

Literacy Aotearoa provides adult literacy education throughout the country. In 2013, more than 8,000 students were enrolled in their programmes.

“Many learners come to Literacy Aotearoa with a fear of picking up a book,” says Bronwyn Yates. “Over time, they gain confidence and take the opportunity to choose, read and enjoy books. We want to encourage this joy in reading by giving books away, to all ages, for no price.

“Travelling Books gives us a chance to get out into the community to tell people about the programmes we provide. Students are eager to be involved and share the message. Last year half the people working on our Travelling Books stalls were students who had volunteered to help.”

Bronwyn Yates says they are pleased to be able to work with principal sponsor New Zealand Post and local publishers Huia, Random House, Gecko Press, Auckland University Press and Scholastic. Workbase, which promotes literacy in the workforce, has also donated books this year.

New Zealand Post Brand and Community Investment Manager, Nicola Airey, hopes members of the public will get into the spirit of Travelling Books.

“We encourage members of the public to take a book, read it, and pass it on,” says Nicola Airey. “Travelling Books take on a life of their own, making their way into people’s homes and lives. New Zealand Post is proud to help foster a love of reading and promote adult literacy in communities around New Zealand in this way.”

There are approximately 150 titles in this year’s list. New Zealand authors include Bernard Beckett, Fiona Farrell, Fiona Kidman, Veronika Meduna, Damian Skinner and David Veart to name just a few. International authors on the list include Jo Nesbo and Lee Child. Among the well known children and young adults titles are two winners from the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults – Dunger by Joy Cowley which won the Junior Fiction prize, and Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox, winner of the Best Young Adult Fiction prize.

The books will be given away at stalls in towns and cities including Auckland (New Lynn, Henderson, Glen Innes, Three Kings, Pukekohe, Oneroa, Glenfield), Carterton, Dargaville, Dunedin, Eketahuna, Feilding, Foxton, Gisborne, Greymouth, Hamilton, Levin, Masterton, Nelson, New Plymouth, Otaki, Palmerston North, Porirua, Rotorua, Taupō, Tauranga, Tokoroa, Turangi, Upper Hutt, Wellington city, Westport and Whangarei.