SEOUL, Mar. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — The Ministry of Culture has declared this year a Year of Books for the first time in 25 years, in the hopes of boosting the publishing industry and encouraging reading among South Koreans.
As part of the scheme, bookstores and libraries across the country will introduce reading programs both online and offline throughout the year.
The last Year of Books was in 1993, though the culture ministry named 2012 as a year of reading.
“A thriving publishing industry is crucial in a society that reads. And a well-read society can only become a high-quality society,” Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan said during the opening ceremony on Thursday.
Under the slogan “What Book Are You Reading?”, efforts to engage nonreaders to pick up a book will continue this year by encouraging people to read the same book and communicate with each other.
To kick off the year-long event, a special reading-themed festival will take place on April 22 and 23 at Gwanghwamun Square, alongside an annual event celebrating World Book Day.
On the internet, a number of events are in the works to attract young people on social media, including ‘Book+YouTuber’, a program scheduled to be unveiled next month and designed to encourage people to upload videos related to books, offering younger generations an opportunity to bond with other people.
Various events are scheduled later this year, including Book Camping where participants will go camping and read books between June and September. Another event dubbed Book Club League run from April until June, during which book club members at schools, libraries and workplaces will be given missions to clear together.
A program for night owls is also in the pipeline, as the government will provide support for bookstores that stay open late at night. By providing a book rental service in marginalized communities, and pushing opening hours of bookstores further into the night, culture ministry officials are hoping to see South Koreans read more this year.
“At home, in school, and in the workplace, we hope to create an atmosphere of ‘reading together’ in every corner of society to bring people close to books and raise awareness of the value of books,” said a senior official who led the organization of the event.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)