President Iohannis, Culture minister, ambassadors open Bookfest 2018

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The 2018 edition of the  Bookfest international book salon has kicked off on Wednesday, with President Klaus Iohannis, Culture minister George Ivascu and the US, Germany and Israel ambassadors attending the opening ceremony.

The United States of America will be the guest of honour country at Bookfest International Book Salon this year, due at Romexpo in Bucharest from May 30 to June 3.

In the speech delivered at the opening gala, President Iohannis warned that Romanians are allotting under 1 pc of their budget to buy books, and that’s why a public policy is needed to boost a growing interest in books and reading.

„Romania has experienced a long period without free access to books, while the exchange of ideas was condemned to stay underground. Today, when we look around and see the stalls of so many publishing houses, we are grateful to all those who are committed to defend and disseminate the written word, for we know how precious the freedom of speech is (…) Therefore, we are obliged to defend the right to freedom of speech and to also understand the responsibility arising from the assumption of the freedom of word. The role of the book fairs is essential in promoting reading and access to book, which are two main elements in the fight to reduce the functional illiteracy that is more and more widespread in our country,” the head of state pointed out.

Iohannis also warned over the decreased interest for the book acquisitions in Romania.

Numerous studies show that the pupils’ school results are determined by the educational resources that are available at home, and in Romania, a household is allotting under 1 percent of the budget to buy books. That’s why we need a public policy to increase the interest for book, to encourage reading, to support the creative expression of the Romanian authors and to modernize the public book infrastructure. All these can contribute to the increase of the culture level among Romanians and to developing the general education level. The impact of such public policies will be directly felt in the economic, social and democratic evolution of our country,” Iohannis added.

The 13th edition of Bookfest brings along a wide variety of events, from book launches to debates and film screenings.

A library, the gift that Finland is giving to itself to celebrate the centennial

And, to have a proper picture of how important books and reading are, Romania might follow the example of Finland, for instance, which decided to give itself a less usual present for its 100th anniversary: a library.

Read more here.

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