Today is World Book and Copyright Day, initiated by UNESCO and promoted by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA).
Here is a message from Ingrid Parent, President of IFLA and University Librarian at the University of British Columbia:
From the UNESCO website, World Book and Copyright Day 2012:
By celebrating this Day throughout the world, UNESCO seeks to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.
23 April is a symbolic date for world literature, since 23 April 1616 was the date of death of Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. 23 April is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.
This is why UNESCO chose this date to pay a worldwide tribute to books and their authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and to gain a renewed respect for the extraordinary contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.
The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia (Spain) where it has become a tradition to give a rose as a gift for each book purchased.
The success of the World Book and Copyright Day will depend primarily on the support received from all parties concerned: authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media.
IFLA ties in the importance of libraries with the day:
To promote books, reading, and the stimulation of creativity through copyright – this is why we celebrate World Book and Copyright Day today and every year on 23 April. In her video message, IFLA President Ingrid Parent addressed the importance of books as irreplaceable sources of knowledge, ideas and innovation. "In books we find the wealth and wisdom of the world", Parent said. Parent also remembered all people who cannot read, "be it through illiteracy, through censorship or through language barriers. When people have no access to books and information, they are excluded from the world's wealth and wisdom."
Being the primary cultural and scientific institutions for providing information as a public good, libraries play a crucial role to build bridges to books and information by helping people to learn new skills, to discover history and culture or to access remote research findings.
IFLA and its members in more than 150 countries worldwide believe that people, communities and organisations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being.
How will you celebrate World Book and Copyright Day?