23 April 2018
Celebrating books, and the libraries that champion them: Athens becomes World Book Capital
Athens today becomes UNESCO World Book Capital. IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner participated in the launch ceremony on behalf of the global library community and looked forward both to the events planned by the organisers, and IFLA’s own World Library and Information Congress, to be held in Athens in August 2019.
The city takes up the role of World Book Capital from Conakry, Guinea. The honour offers a rich opportunity to raise awareness of the collections and work of libraries, both to residents and visitors. As a member of the jury making recommendations on World Book Capital candidates, IFLA has an important role in encouraging bids that place libraries at their heart.
For the next twelve months, Athens will, therefore, be the focus of programmes and events celebrating books, their authors, and their impact on society. As protectors, preservers and promoters of books, libraries will be at the heart of the celebrations.
With library work focused on providing excellent services to the community rather than fairs or awards, it is a welcome opportunity to ensure that everyone, no matter what role they play in society, understands the importance of libraries, and the need to give them the laws and resources necessary to do their jobs.
IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner said:
On behalf of the global library field, I congratulate Athens on becoming World Book Capital. Athens has been a centre of learning and creativity for millennia, and its libraries are playing an essential role in making this accessible to all. I am sure that the coming year - and the World Library and Information Congress in 2019 - will show the power and creativity of the library field in achieving this goal.