Tuesday, 5. 12. 2017

Ljubljana is a reading friendly municipality

The City of Ljubljana has received the Reading Friendly Municipality certificate aimed at encouraging local communities to develop reading literacy, reading and reading culture.

Bigger projects in the field of literature in Ljubljana

In 2015 Ljubljana became a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and won the title City of Literature opening new opportunities for the development of literature in Slovenia, for a higher international status and recognition of Slovenian literature, culture, the city and the country. We are convinced we can offer part of our rich tradition, original ideas and experience in literature to the world. As we have proven with the Ljubljana Resolution on Books which was adopted at the World Book Summit within the scope of the programme Ljubljana – World Book Capital 2010 which set up an efficient model for the support of books and reading. Within the framework of the title we are carrying out joint projects with cities of literature, and so, this year two authors from Ljubljana are resident guests in cities of literature – Petra Žist in Granada and Matjaž Pikalo in Iowa.

In 2010 Ljubljana was the proud holder of the UNESCO title World Book Capital. Numerous programmes continually contributing to the awareness of the importance of books were carried out during that time: the Trubar House of Literature was opened, the first specialised children’s literature bookshop, within the project Ljubljana Reads three-year-olds and first-graders received an original Slovenian colouring book, the publication of a biweekly cultural magazine Pogledi (Views) was supported, a series of books Knjige za vsakogar (Books for Everyone) was published for 3 euro per copy, the first World Book Congress was held and Ljubljana introduced a resounding annual literary festival hosting best writers in the world.

By joining the International network of cities of refuge for persecuted writers ICORN in 2011 we have shown openness and commitment to freedom of artistic expression. The ICORN network was established in 1994 on the initiative of Salman Rushdie and the International Parliament of Writers (IPW) as an international network of cities offering shelter to writers at risk because of their artistic creativity and expression of opinions. A city of refuge enables a writer, who in most cases had to flee from his country, to create in a new environment. Currently Ljubljana has a fourth guest writer coming from Iraq.

Support of the City of Ljubljana

The City of Ljubljana has annual public procurement procedures for the selection of cultural projects to co-finance activities for the promotion of reading with an emphasis on events which are held on public surfaces and are accessible to the highest number of visitors. Up to six projects per year are supported through this public procurement procedure. With a public procurement procedure within the framework of the project Ljubljana bere (Ljubljana reads) we select quality books for children (three-year-olds, first-graders and fourth-graders), and through a public procurement procedure for co-financing cultural programmes (we sign a four-year contract on co-financing with the contractor) we support the literary festival Literature svetovnih celin (Literatures of the World's Continents). This year we have co-financed projects and programmes in the field of promoting reading in the amount of 200,275 euro.

The City of Ljubljana is also the co-founder of the Ljubljana City Library which recorded over 2.3 million visitors in 2016 borrowing more than 5 million units of material; among other things we offer free-of-charge use of space owned by the city to subjects in the field of literature (Slovene Writers’ Association, Slovene PEN Centre…) and other non-governmental organisations wanting to present books and organise other events in our facilities.

The reading culture in Ljubljana is also defined in all City of Ljubljana Culture Development Strategies (2008-2011, 2012-2015, 2016-2019), in the City of Ljubljana Pre-School Learning and Education Development Strategy 2009-2019 and the City of Ljubljana Youth Strategy 2016-2026.

The title Reading Friendly Municipality is awarded by the Slovenian Public Libraries Association, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia with the aim to encourage local communities to implement measures for the improvement of reading literacy, promotion of reading and development of reading culture as well as raising the awareness that reading is a value in life.