Wednesday, November 26, 2014

James Patterson Aims to 'Save Our Books'

Shelf Awareness

James Patterson, who has given $1 million to independent bookstores this year, is launching a new campaign called Save Our Books that aims to get the country to take action to "save our books and promote reading and literacy." In particular, he wants to support early childhood education and more funding for public libraries and librarians and emphasize "the critical importance of reading."

A key part of the campaign, which is using the hashtag #SaveOurBooks, is a 30-second video of books burning that he aims to promote widely. "I want to raise awareness in this country and get people to understand how serious a problem exists," Patterson told Shelf Awareness. "The film is very visual and will disturb a few people, but that's good. People are vaguely aware but don't do anything. They're comfortable just talking. But I'm big on doing things."

Kevin Ryan and Pete Mulvihill show off the new floor at Green Apple Books, courtesy of a Patterson grant.
Thus Patterson is asking people to e-sign letters to congressmen and e-sign a petition for increased funding for public libraries. In addition, Patterson is asking President Obama to take "a pledge to make reading a national priority... and to pledge--just once a month--to go into a library or a store that sells books, and to appear in public with a book in his hands."

The same pledge will be sent to elected officials in all states asking that they go "on record (in governmental session, at a public event, or on social media) to say that he/she is concerned about the state of reading."

Patterson explained in part: "The country is so visual that if politicians carry books around that would be a good start." He added that he is hoping Hollywood to get involved, perhaps even in movies, where "we almost never see anyone reading books."

Next year, Patterson aims to "make a big push with school libraries." Many of them don't have a lot of books, he said, while some schools don't have libraries. He also said, "I'll probably continue to do some stuff with indie stores."

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