BMA embraces Unesco book capital title
Bangkok will be named the World Book Capital by Unesco tomorrow.
- Published: 22/04/2013 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The capital will become the 13th city to assume the title, taking over from Yerevan, Armenia.
The naming of a World Book Capital each year marks World Book and Copyright Day.
City governor Suhumbhand Paribatra announced plans on Sunday that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) intends to encourage reading among Thais.
MR Sukhumbhand said the BMA was aware of the importance of reading and wanted to promote it among the public.
He said reading was the key for people to gain knowledge and improve their quality of life.
City Hall will embrace the World Book Capital designation by organising activities to promote reading throughout the year it holds the title.
Sukhumbhand: Wants kids to read more
The BMA hopes Bangkok people will gain a love of reading over the course of the year and develop a culture of reading that will continue in the long term, the governor said.
Surveys by the private sector found that on average, Bangkokians read only five books per year. MR Sukhumbhand said he hopes to increase this amount to 10-15 books a year.
"Our strategy is to encourage Bangkok people to read when they have free time," he said.
The BMA plans to build a comic book museum and a central city library, as well as increasing the number of community-based libraries.
The city library would be at City Hall and MR Sukhumbhand expects it to be ready in two years. Deputy City Clerk Manit Techaapichok said many teenagers were obsessed with smartphones and had turned their backs on the printed word.
Mr Manit hopes the BMA's campaigns will convince teenagers to spend as much time reading as they do using smartphones.
He said smartphone content tended to be short and incorporate slang, but those who read the printed word would gain an appreciation for the beauty of literature and learn about culture.
Mr Manit said the BMA has 98 partners in its drive to promote reading.
Among them, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, district offices and coffee shop owners will open about 1,000 book corners for customers.
The BMA runs 37 public libraries in the city and has modernised 14 of them. It plans to build 10 more public libraries every year.
Some of the BMA's libraries specialise in certain types of books.
For example, a public library in Huai Khwang district has a large comic book selection, while one on Phra Nang Road in Ratchathewi district focuses on classic literature.
The BMA also runs 116 community-based libraries and plans to build 20 more every year.
The city administration is gathering donated books and has seven mobile libraries ready to distribute them to communities around Bangkok.
The mobile units will also stage reading activities in the areas they visit.
To earn the title of World Book Capital a city must boast several parties keen on promoting reading. It must also plan to conduct pro-reading activities through the year, and organise large-scale book fairs.
Port Harcourt of Nigeria will be the next World Book Capital, taking over from Bangkok in 12 months' time.
About the author
- Writer: Patsara Jikkham
- Position: Reporter