UNESCO has opened the call for candidates for the city which will be World Book Capital (WBC) for a year from 23 April 2021. IFLA encourages cities which are realising the potential of libraries to apply.  

Books for Better Societies

Since 2001, one city a year has been named World Book Capital. With this title, the host becomes the focus for a series of events and programmes aimed at promoting books and reading, setting an example for others globally.

Cities from all continents have successfully bid for this status, with Athens the current holder. Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) will take up the position on April 23 2019, and will be followed by Kuala Lumpur a year later.  

Libraries Core to Successful Promotion of Books and Reading

With libraries often closely engaged with local authorities in promoting access to books and a love of reading, they are obvious partners for this initiative. The best candidates often recognise this potential, organising events in and with libraries, as well as providing valuable support.

IFLA is privileged to be a member of the Advisory Committee, working with UNESCO and the International Publishers Association to advise the UNESCO Director General in her final choice.

IFLA Secretary-General Gerald Leitner said:

With strong libraries, any town or city can be a leader in promoting books and reading. I look forward to candidates for World Book Capital 2021 who show what can be achieved when libraries, publishers, local authorities and others work together.

The deadline for candidates is Thursday 2 May 2019 – further details are available on the UNESCO website. Given that Kuala Lumpur will hold the title from 23 April 2020 to 23 April 2021, candidates from Asia are not being accepted this time around.