Hundreds of free books handed out across Nottingham city centre to get people reading

Organisers have been out and about in Nottingham city centre giving away free books to give young people an 'opportunity to read for pleasure'. Teams were in Old Market Square on Monday, July 1, marking the first day of The Big City Reads campaign to get young people engrossed in books.

Paty Bennett, general manager of Nottingham City of Literature, said: “We wanted to give young people the opportunity to read for pleasure without the worry that they don’t have their own books.

“We hope they will enjoy reading for pleasure, to escape screens and use this escapism so they get to use their imaginations. It’s an act of kindness to give books away and I think people really enjoy getting books.”

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The campaign, lasting until August 11, returns to the city for the third year with 2,000 books to be given away in total. Project coordinator Katy Birch said that when she was giving a book to a young person, they were thrilled to receive the title for free because they were planning on buying it themselves.

There are four books selected from a longlist of 50-or-so with a theme of 'belonging' that will be given out as part of the summer reading scheme. The campaign also aims to combat the low literacy rates in the city by giving books to young people who don’t own many books.

On Monday the Nottingham City of Literature team relocated to a new base in the Central Library, in Carrington Street, to continue their work championing the city’s writers and readers.

Katy added: “I think it will be really nice to be in the centre of the city and it will make it a lot easier to connect with what’s going on with the other arts organisations in Nottingham. The Central Library is fantastic and we’re enjoying working with them.

“It’s a really challenging time for the libraries but we’re really happy to be there.”