The 10-Minute International Librarian #87: Explain why books matter

This Saturday will be World Book and Copyright Day, launched by UNESCO in 1995 on 23 April – the day on which both Cervantes and Shakespeare died. It is also the day, in Catalonia, where it is traditional to offer books and roses as gifts.

Of course there are many international days, but this is a particularly important one for libraries, and is strongly celebrated by our field around the world.

Yet books are often taken for granted.

They have arguably faced tough competition in the attention economy, with streaming platforms and others looking to occupy time that previously would have been spent reading.

They are also, sadly, sometimes forgotten in cultural policies which focus more on ‘live’ arts than on giving a central role of literature, despite the deep reach that this has, not least through libraries.

Meanwhile, despite the importance of combatting illiteracy being clear, there can be a focus on shiny technological solutions, rather than promoting the wider reading of books that develops deeper skills.

So for our 87th 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, explain why books matter.

How can you, in a sentence or two, set out why it is important to invest in books, and in their promotion to communities?

How is it possible to do this in a way that appeals to all, rather than just to existing book-buying and book-reading populations?

What story can you tell of how books – and access to them – have changed people’s lives.

Share your ideas in the comments box below.

Good luck, and happy World Book Day!


This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! Key Initiative 2.1 Produce, communicate and distribute key resources and materials that inspire the profession. 

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box below!


3 thoughts on “The 10-Minute International Librarian #87: Explain why books matter

  1. Felicity Sandral

    Reading some fiction every day builds our reading stamina, comprehension, deep literacy and cognitive abilities. Books literally make us smarter!

  2. Nelly Whaibeh

    The book was and remains always my loyal friend who never let me down or give up on me, especially when i was down . He is my ultimate loophole from the harsh reality and virtual world to the smooth world of paper smell and imagination.

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