Seeks support, partnership from govt, individuals, corporate citizens for book clubs in public schools
By Anote Ajeluorou
YENAGOA, the Bayelsa state capital, is preparing for a major shift in the book and reading culture adventure as the Annette David-West-led 1402 Book Lounge Initiative launches its first book club that will give birth to other similar clubs in the state. The launch will take plEbizimoace at The Brass Suites on Ekeki Road, Yenagoa at the first reading of the book club aptly tagged ‘Books, Love & Wine’, designed to stimulate appetite for read and attract citizens of Yenagoa and beyond. Ebitari by Ebizimo Arabina is the book that will be read and discussed today, Sunday, November 27, 2022. Time is 4.30pm.
In just a few days after announcing seat reservation for the venue, the 50 seats available were snatched up with such speed that left the organisers scratching their heads. A further 10 seats were created and they were equally snatched up in less than 10 minutes. This has given the inaugural edition of 1402 Book Club’s reading event ‘Books, Love & Wine’ a new way of looking at book events and how to make them look as cool as can be with theme and style variation. The organisers have as main attraction ‘Book reading and signing,’ ‘wine tasting,’ ‘love lyrics toasting,’ ‘music’ and more as offerings at the book event.
Founder of 1402 Book Lounge Initiative David-West said 1402 Book Lounge Initiative which consists of a bookshop at Yenagoa airport and other creative projects like publishing will soon launch its unique book club that will consist of a library and a café with sundry activities to make it a one-stop place for books, fun, games, coffee, snacks and related activities that she hopes would endear it to the public. She noted that books should have stimulating themes built around them so that reading and fun could go hand-in-hand, noting, “Book reading is already a lonely endeavour, but we can enliven it with some communal activities that do not necessarily distract from the main goal of reading. Perhaps, if we created fun activities around our book reading events we might be the better for it.
“Nobody visits our libraries any more because those spaces look like abandoned relics, dusty and crumbling shelves with cobwebs and ancient books that are of no relevance to anybody. Just like the Network of Book Clubs and Reading (Culture) Promoters in Nigeria (NBRP) is canvassing with its MoU with the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) and subsequently with state libraries across the country, we need to think books and fun activities together as an attractive option and model as a way of getting our people back to reading more. Most children eat best while also playing with their food. We need to learn a thing or two from this. Children learn best when it’s made to look like fun. That’s what we intend to do at 1402 Book Lounge book clubs as we set them up, with the introduction of a bit of fun, food, games and more books.
“I’m sure we can’t get it wrong with this innovative matrix. Perhaps, that was why today’s event ‘sold out’ even it isn’t a gate-fee-taking event. We all know how attendance to book events can be – low turn out – sometimes, just the organiser and friends and family of the writer. But we will have a great mix of audience in today’s event from the guest list we have. There are those who haven’t even attended a book event before. Wine has its own magic. Then there’s love too, as the central theme of the collection of poems that our author will read from, Ebitari, which means abundance, surfeit of love. So we will keep fine-tuning our book themes as we go along to make them appealling to the public that is eager to read but sometimes can’t find the right mix. We pray for good fortune in this as we move forward.”
David-West also said the launch of book clubs by 1402 Book Lounge Initiative signals a new chapter that will give birth to book clubs in public secondary schools in Bayelsa state. Already, 1402 Book Lounge Initiative has secured the approval of the state’s Ministry of Education for the purpose. She said she would roll out next year by going to public schools to set book clubs and organise reading events for students and their teachers. She is therefore calling on the state government, public-spirited individuals and corporate citizens in and outside Bayelsa state to partner with 1402 Book Lounge Initiative to give students the desired education that broadens their minds that the book clubs promise.
According to her, “The education of a child as an age-old activity is usually undertaken by the entire community in our African society. That is not about to change any time soon. More than ever before, this is the right time to enhance that African truism. So we call on governments, state and local, individuals who have the spirit to impact society for the better and corporate organisations which have education and youth empowerment as their corporate social responsibility agenda to reach out and partner with us. We’re open for such collaboration. The book clubs we intend to set up in schools will have mini libraries. They need shelves. They need books. We will entertain the students when we visit their schools. Individuals or corporate organisations can decide to build a library in a school or community and brand them in their names. We can help facilitate the processes and ensure the right mix is achieved. Let’s do this together. Let’s partner for genuine development of our young minds. Let’s give our children better education through collaboration. Welcome!”