Monday, 18 January 2021

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Protecting books as symbols of global progress


Photo credit: Worldreader via UNESCO.

23 April 2015 – On this day, we celebrate the UNESCO-proclaimed World Book and Copyright Day, recognizing the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them. At the same time, the city of Incheon, Republic of Korea, becomes World Book Capital for a year.

A symbolic date for world literature, it is on April 23 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died in 1616. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K. Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov.

Since its inception in 1995, World Book and Copyright Day has shown itself to be a great opportunity for reflection and information on a significant theme. This is especially crucial as books play a central role as platforms for freedom of expression and free flows of information.

“As global symbols of social progress, books – learning and reading -- have become targets for those who denigrate culture and education, who reject dialogue and tolerance,” says Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

Ms Bokova continues, “In recent months, we have seen attacks on children at school and the public burning of books. In this context, our duty is clear – we must redouble efforts to promote the book, the pen, the computer, along with all forms of reading and writing, in order to fight illiteracy and poverty, to build sustainable societies, to strengthen the foundations of peace.”


Photo credit: Elyx by Yak.

7 actions to join the celebration

UNESCO wants you to join the celebration of books as cultural objects! Here are 7 actions you can do:

  • Download books published for 70 years on UNESDOC, it's free!
  • Share your passion for an author and offer her/his book to someone!
  • Take this opportunity to read something different.
  • Write a note in a book saying “Happy Book Day!” drag one of UNESCO’s bookmarks in it, and leave it on a park bench or a metro seat!
  • Give books that you are no longer using to associations.
  • Print out our campaign materials and organize a book sale around your place!
  • Plan local reading events in schools and libraries and encourage famous guest readers to get involved.


Incheon becomes World Book Capital

Having been designated in 2013, Incheon becomes the World Book Capital for one year, starting today. The designation of Incheon recognizes the city’s “programme to promote reading among people and underprivileged sections of the population”, the UNESCO Director-General states.

Under the slogans “read and discover yourself” and “books for all”, the city will promote an environment of ‘where all citizens may read books without difficulty and access the source of wisdom and information at any time’.

Additional information can be found on the designated World Book Capital website.

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