World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day is a yearly event on 23 April, organized by UNESCO. The purpose of the day is to recognize the importance of books, authors and copyright for spreading ideas and knowledge, and to contribute to the understanding and tolerance between people. In 1995 the UNESCO General Conference made the following proclamation at their session in Paris:
The General Conference,
Considering that historically books have been the most powerful factor in the dissemination of knowledge and the most effective means of preserving it,
Considering consequently that all moves to promote their dissemination will serve not only greatly to enlighten all those who have access to them, but also to develop fuller collective awareness of cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire behaviour based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue,
Considering that one of the potentially most effective ways to promote and to disseminate books – as shown by the experience of several UNESCO Member States – is the establishment of a ‘Book Day’ and the organization of events such as book fairs and exhibitions on the same day,
Noting furthermore that this idea has not yet been adopted at international level,
Adopts the above-mentioned idea and proclaims 23 April of every year ‘World Book and Copyright Day’, as it was on that date in 1616 that Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died.
Reading books and learning from other people’s stories widen the reader’s knowledge and perception of the world. Unfortunately this is not something that is appreciated in all parts of the world, nor has it always been appreciated throughout history. Books have through all times been censored, banned and / or destroyed because they had the “wrong” content. The book may have contained stories or facts about religion, they may have had too detailed descriptions of sexual acts, maybe they contained rebellious elements or there was another element for “wrongness”. For those who want to read about banned books of all time, please see the books Banned Books – four books about books that have been banned because of political, social, sexual and religious grounds.
Having the ability to read, and in addition having access to all sorts of books should be every person’s right in the world we live in today, but unfortunately it is not so. Hence the need for World Book Day! Remember the famous words from Malala Yousafzai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014:
let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons.
As you all know, the library is full of books for you to borrow. In the picture you can see some of the books the library has on the topic “reading”. Welcome to the library to borrow a book on any topic to celebrate this years World Book Day!
Text & picture: Katharina Nordling