UN spotlights ‘bibliodiversity’ on annual World Book and Copyright Day

Credit: UNESCO

23 April 2013 – The United Nations today is highlighting the diversity of books and the protection of plots and protagonists and other content, while also raising awareness of literacy programmes and careers in publishing, book shops, libraries and schools as it marks World Book and Copyright Day.

“The diversity of books and editorial content is a source of enrichment that we must support through appropriate public policies and protection from uniformity,” the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, said in her message for the Day..

She added that “this bibliodiversity is our common wealth, making books much more than a physical object, for they are our most beautiful invention for sharing ideas beyond the boundaries of space and time.”

World Book and Copyright Day is marked annually on 23 April, a symbolic date for world literature. On this day in 1611, Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died.

It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.

“This day provides an opportunity to reflect together on ways to better disseminate the culture of the written word and to allow all individuals, men, women and children to access it, through literacy programmes and support for careers in publishing, book shops, libraries and schools,” Ms. Bokova said in her message.

The day, she said, also provides an opportunity to reflect on the changing nature of printing, as more publishing uses digital platforms, and the protection of intellectual property.

According to UNESCO, the agency is committed to the spirit of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions as are all its partners, including the International Publishers Association, the International Booksellers' Federation and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

As part of UNESCO’s effort to support literacy, this year, Bangkok has been designated as a World Book Capital. The Paris-based agency said it chose the Thai capital “in recognition of its programme to promote reading among young people and underprivileged sections of the population.”

Bangkok’s theme for its year is “Bangkok, Read for Life,” a phrase chosen to reflect on the efforts by the local and national governments “to inspire Thai citizens to use reading to improve their quality of life and build a resilient and peaceful society.”


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