It was World Book Night yesterday – an ingenious plan to give hundreds of thousand of books away to strangers to encourage more people to read. I signed up to be a ‘giver’ and chose Dodie Smith’s magical I Capture the Castle, as it is instantly engaging. I duly collected my twenty-four copies from Waterstone’s Piccadilly and decided to head to Thomas’s Hospital, just over Westminster Bridge.
I envisaged myself, Florence Nightingale-esque, handing out books to patients immobilized by great swathes of plaster, legs hauled up into the air on frames. I hauled my carrier bags in to a rather surprised looking information desk manned by, though not young, extremely energetic, volunteers who ran ahead of me up the stairs to the hospital Friends.
However, delighted as the Friends were with the books, my offers to patrol the wards were politely declined. Instead they instantly devised a mass distribution plan that locked into ward rotas and involved the fount-of-all-knowledge sounding Hospital Library Trolley.
The Friends were volunteers, too, just as enthusiastic and proactive as my new acquaintances on the information desk. As I walked away I thought about how many people like them give up their free time so willingly and caringly to help others, and wondered whether we can ever give them enough thanks.blog comments powered by Disqus