29 July 2014
The Bookseller - Benedicte Page
Eighty staff members at Pan Macmillan have pledged to support literacy charities as part of the Reading for Pleasure initiative, following the first campaign roadshow held at the publisher's offices last week (23rd July).
The Publishers Association's Reading for Pleasure campaign brings charities and other organisations promoting reading and literacy together with authors and those who work in publishing. Last week's roadshow hosted by Pan Macmillan offered anyone from across the business a paid day per year to make time for working with literacy charities.
Pledges made at the roadshow included becoming a Summer Reading Challenge volunteer, helping schools celebrate World Book Day, signing up for the Where's Wally? fun run, volunteering a Beanstalk reading helper, and participating in World Book Night.
Pan Mac UK sales director Anna Bond said: "The Reading for Pleasure campaign has inspired us to give every member of our teams across the business a paid working day per year to support it in any way that they choose. We hope that everyone who takes up this offer will enjoy the experience, and that they will be able to help this array of important charities to do even more good work spreading the love of reading."
Editorial director Julie Crisp was among those volunteering, pledging to accompany an author on a visit to a prison or school for a creative writing workshop. "Helping children to love books and to see the wonders of reading, rather than being afraid or ashamed of it, is essential. And it's just as important for adults or teens who find reading difficult to work with someone to overcome their own prejudices and fears and to discover the genuine pleasure of reading books," she commented.
Publishers Association chief executive Richard Mollet said he was delighted that so many of Pan Mac's staff attended the roadshow. "Through the excellent work of reading charities 35 million books have been put directly into the hands of adults and children over the past five years, but worryingly 46% of 16-24-year-olds still don't read for pleasure," he said. "It is important that those of us who work in publishing play an active role in changing this and we are grateful to all at Pan Macmillan for their support."
The PA now plans to take the roadshow to other publishing houses.
Charities and literacy organisations involved in the Reading for Pleasure campaign include Quick Reads, World Book Day, World Book Night, Beanstalk, Booktrust, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, The National Voice for Lifelong Learning, The Reading Agency and the National Literacy Trust.
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