Seventeen years ago, UNESCO declared April 23rd World Book and Copyright Day and every year seems to bring exciting new ways to celebrate the occasion.
I know that, in this space, I’m preaching to the choir and talking to the already converted. We like books, right? No secret there. We, all of us, like books a lot. But the UNESCO initiative offers us a basket into which we may place our ideas for sharing not only our love of books, but our passion for literacy. As UNESCO director general Irina Bokova wrote in a special Book Day greeting:
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. Books are our allies in spreading education, science, culture and information worldwide.
How the day is marked varies vastly from country to country — everything from huge organized book giveaways in the US, UK and Ireland to reading and even writing events throughout the world. UNESCO offers up a list of resources here. Also, the World Book Night web page is here. Meanwhile, Techcrunch gets all grumpy here.
In addition to book happenings, April 23rd brings some pretty important book anniversaries. William Shakespeare died on this day and Vladimir Nabokov was born on it so it seems an appropriate day for action around books, literacy and reading.