Quad-City Botanical Center education director Gary Keller will give a talk about flowers and what they meant in Victorian times during World Book Night on Tuesday. The first 20 people arriving for the program also will receive a free book, "The Language of Flowers."


Gary Keller of the Quad-City Botanical Center in Rock Island will give away 20 free copies of Vanessa Diffenbaugh's novel "The Language of Flowers" to the first adults who walk in the door Tuesday night for a program on flowers.

Nyla Ruccia, the manager of the bookstore at Black Hawk College in Moline, is sharing 20 free copies of “Bossypants” by actress Tina Fey with students enrolled in the college’s adult literacy program. It’s a lighthearted, humorous read, and Ruccia figures everyone can use a little of that these days.

Kendra Evers, the teen coordinator at the Clinton Public Library, is sharing 20 free copies of "American Poetry" at an all-ages book-giveaway at the library from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday that also will include free food and drawings.

Keller, Ruccia and Evers are three of at least 50 people from the Quad-Cities and 20 to 30 in Clinton who are giving away more than 1,500 paperback books as part of World Book Night, a celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person, among adults.

The event, now in its second year, is promoted by a nonprofit organization of the same name that is comprised of authors, publishers, booksellers, librarians and readers.

People register online to be “givers,” then select one book from a list of 30 that they would like to give away. The list is drawn up by the organization with an eye toward quality literature that has gender, ethnic and geographic balance.

The choices include recent offerings as well as classics, such as "My Antonia" by Willa Cather or "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" by Mark Twain.

The givers pick up their books at various stores — in the Quad-Cities, the Black Hawk bookstore in Moline and Barnes and Noble Booksellers at NorthPark Mall in Davenport — and then distribute them. The goal is to encourage reading among adults who are either light readers or nonreaders.

Like the Clinton library, the Botanical Center, 2525 4th Ave., Rock Island, has planned an event around its giveaway.

Although "The Language of Flowers" has multiple layers, including the story of a young woman who spent her childhood in foster care and has trouble connecting with the world, the center also has a program of the same name that explains the meaning attributed to flowers, herbs, leaves and twigs in Victorian times.

Ami Jenkins, the center's director, thought it would be a good idea to combine the book giveaway and the program in one event. The giveaway will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the program from 6-7 p.m.

Other giveaways will be more straightforward.

Lisa Lockheart, the publicity and outreach liaison with the Rock Island Public Library, is taking her stash to Arrowhead Ranch in Coal Valley.

Joe Taylor, president and CEO of the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, is dropping off "The Lightning Thief" at Davenport’s Wood Intermediate School.

Lisa Powell-Williams of the Moline Public Library is going to post a sign at the second-floor reference desk where she will give away "Look Again" by Lisa Scottoline, whom she describes as "one of my favorite thriller writers."

Although one might think people coming to the library's reference desk are already readers, Powell-Williams said that isn't necessarily so.

"People come to the library for many reasons. And this can encourage them to read something they hadn't thought of before. Also, this is a book they can take home with them. There’s that magic too," she said, explaining that owning books is not something everyone can afford.

In addition to promoting reading, organizers of World Book Night hope the event fosters a sense of community by having people reach out to others through the sharing of stories.