Friday, January 27, 2006

Get KL Reading?

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.
Now of courselah, most of you who graze this blog are here in Malaysia and are probably scratching your heads in wonderment at this Mat Salleh going on yet again about things Britishly bookish. But you can surely see which way my mind is going?

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!)


Kak Teh said...

I am all for this Mat Saleha going on and on about things Britishly bookish, especially if she can put books in hands and encourage people to read. I know we discussed this over coffee before. Every morning and evening when I take the tube, when I look up from my own book, I am amazed to see what people are reading. I want so much to take this picture and publish it..everyone is reading - faces behind books or newspapers of magazines.
I've already bought 4 books this week!

Unknown said...

How do i become a member?

Unknown said...

Sharon, I have already checked out the British Council website - will go over and sign up once I get back.

bibliobibuli said...

kak teh - mat salleha? love it! ... wish i'd been able to stop at four books ... and yes, i love to see folks reading on the tube in london ... always have the urge to read over their shoulder ...

sham - good for you ...

Anonymous said...

I really wish initiatives like this weren't so London-centric. I live in a city of approx. 400,000 people, and we never get anything like Get London Reading. I can feel a letter to a local newspaper editor coming on. ;)

Yvonne Foong said...

I do so agree!

bibliobibuli said...

walker - maybe like-minded folks should take matters into their own hands and at least do something small ...

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the cat still needs a bell tied around it, doesn't it ? :)

bibliobibuli said...

i'm belling my personal cat, dear ... just can't tell the world yet