With towels in hand, a long line of students and passersby started reading an important guide to the galaxy yesterday and will not be finished until 11 a.m. today – that is if they don’t panic.

Hosted by the English Club: Santa Barbara Chapter, the first annual 24-Hour Reading Marathon features Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series, read aloud in front of a microphone. Besides some important advice, attendees will be provided with free cookies, brownies and coffee.

English professor Enda Duffy kicked off the event by reading the beginning of the series’ first book.

Shayna Ingram, a second-year English and global studies major, said the club members invited Duffy to read at the event.

“We asked him very nicely to attend,” Ingram said.

Carissa McQueen, a club member and second-year English major, said the club bribed professor Duffy with tea, as his Irish accent is highly sought-after for literary readings.

English Club President Josh Corbelli said the idea to host a 24-Hour Reading Marathon came about in a club discussion in January, partially as a result of the club’s goal to introduce more people to the pleasures of reading.

“One of the goals of the club is to promote literacy,” Corbelli, a senior English major, said. “We also want to foster a sense of community among like-minded students.”

Corbelli said families, passersby and students of all ages, including kindergartners, are encouraged to join the club at the reading of the entire series of the book. He said there will be backup reading options in case the Hitchhiker’s Guide is finished before 11 a.m.

At their meeting Wednesday night, the English Club members came up with a to ensure the event’s success, including intense training routines.

McQueen said she and the other members have been training for the event for the last couple of weeks.

“I read aloud every night,” McQueen said. “I’ve been reviewing radio recordings of the book for the last week and a half.”

Craig Couden, a senior English major and club member, said he has been sleeping less at night, while Ingram said she was not worried about losing a few winks.

“I pretty much never sleep,” Ingram, the English Club vice president, said. “I’ve been thinking very hard about [the reading marathon].”

Based on the reading marathon’s page on Facebook.com, McQueen said approximately 150 people in all may attend the event.

As of Thursday afternoon, Kim Hart, a senior English and anthropology major, said she thought the event was going well, despite the gray skies and cool spring breezes in Santa Barbara.

“It’s excellent,” Hart, a club member, said. “We’ve had a lot of people attend.”

Corbelli said a variety of people of all ages were stopping by.

“There were grad students stopping by in the midst of studying for their midterm exams,” Corbelli said. “We’ve also had professors randomly stop by.”

Corbelli said the club members were planning to treat themselves to Woodstock’s Pizza on Thursday night, assuming they could have the pizza delivered to their location.

Ingram said there will not be an afterparty, as the participants may not be awake. She said the event itself is a continual party.

Corbelli, the club founder, said the English Club: Santa Barbara Chapter is the first official English club at UCSB. He said there have been other unofficial related clubs in the past, but none have been permanent.

The club meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. outside Nicoletti’s in the UCen. People of all majors and interests are welcome to attend the meetings.