Now here's news of an initiative I wholeheartedly applaud:
The Get London Reading campaign, which will run annually from February 2006, aims to encourage Londoners to make more time for reading and promote London as an international centre for books. ... A challenge will be made to the book industry, cultural organisations, businesses and libraries, asking ‘what will you do to get Londoners reading?’. Responses, in the form of promotions, events, book groups in workplaces and writers in residence, will be collated in a free Get London Reading Guide Book.The event, led by independent charity, Booktrust, runs from 17th February to the 7th March 2006, and is timed to culminate in World Book Day. Other partners in the project include Arts Council London, British Council, and the London International Book Fair. Businesses and organisations across the city are encouraged to pledge their support and come up with "quirky and interesting intitiatives to engage readers and get press attention."
Some of the suggestions offered:
- A discount offered when the customer presents their Guide Book.
- Guide Book encourages Londoners to visit X bookshop on a specific date, to collect a free copy of X new title, of which 500 are available.
- Londoners could be encouraged to gather at a specific London landmark at noon on a specific date to hear Author X read from her latest work.
- Londoners could get a free coffee if they purchase three books, in association with X local coffee shop.
- Bookshops could offer a series of special breakfast or lunchtime events to encourage Londoners to take time out of their busy days.
A lot has been talked about the need to encourage reading here, and funds have been made available ... but so far nothing seems to be happening. What's happened to the proposed reading campaign announced last November?????
It is indeed very depressing to look at the activity calendar for reading events organised by the National Library. From January to December 2006 the pages tell you:
There are no activities organised for this month.Seems that really it's best for folks to organise things for themselves, and there's really no better place to start than thinking about World Book Day on March 2nd. Last year MPH and Instituto Cervantes were the only organisations in the city to celebrate it, as far as I know.
Perhaps this year your own organisation might like to mark the day in some way? If so, I'd love to hear about it ... You can check out the official website for fun ideas about how the event is being celebrated in England and Wales and get some inspiration.
Oh yes and ... hint hint ... you might just want to become a member of the British Council library before March 2nd. (More than that I can't divulge at the moment ..... shhhhhhhh!)