World Book and Copyright Day: giving youth and literacy the spotlight

World Book and Copyright Day, celebrated on 23 April, is a great opportunity to celebrate our love for books, for reading and for discovery of inspiring and creative stories, people and communities.

At a certain point in life, many of us have experienced the joy of being able to read our favourite childhood books, school materials or just random street billboards. Unquestionably, reading is one of the basic communication skills which makes us human beings and it opens up a wealth of opportunities, such as access to information, knowledge and further personal development. Hence, a book, independent of the format it takes whether paper or digital, becomes the vehicle for learning, for sharing and for discovering the world around us.

World Book and Copyright Day took place for the first time in 1995 and has become a yearly event ever since, organised by UNESCO in partnership with organisations and booklovers from all over the world. To give an impetus to celebrations and to reach out to local communities, each year, since 2000, a city has been chosen to be the World Book Capital City, which means that the city becomes a flagship in celebrating the day through various initiatives until 23 April of the following year. World Book Capital City of 2017 is Conakry, Guinea and its strategic focus for this year's campaign is on community involvement, youth and literacy: all very relevant issues for all communities. An interactive map shows the events that are planned across the globe and allows you to check out what is happening in your country.

This day is particularly important as it allows us to reflect on the impact of books in our lives and, more specifically, on the power of books to promote an inclusive and equitable society. The celebrations aim to reach out not only to those who are able to read, but also to those who have disabilities that prevent them from reading. Moreover, given the focus of the campaign, it tries to inspire children and young people to become literate and to use knowledge from books to become active participants in their community and society, responsible consumers of content, and creators of positive content that can inspire other children and young people.

We also need to value the creators of the content we consume and copyright plays a huge role in protecting books and literature. Copyright (or author's right) describes the rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works, such as books, music, paintings, sculpture, films and so on. Moreover, it ensures that authors get the deserved credit and reward for their originality, creativity and hard work.

At European level, in the context of the Digital Agenda, there are current discussions on modernising copyright regulation by widening access to content across the European Union, integrating exceptions to copyright rules for an innovative and inclusive society and creating a fairer marketplace. As such, policymakers recognise that copyright is an important issue that needs to be discussed and updated in order to harmonise the approach at European level.

The Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres (SICs) celebrate World Book and Copyright Day by promoting media literacy and creating resources aimed at children and young people to help them navigate the internet safely and responsibly. Resources, available in various languages, can be accessed via the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Resource gallery.

If you are interested in following the celebrations of the World Book and Copyright Day via social media, you can do so on the UNESCO social media accounts.


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