From 23 April 2024, Strasbourg will hold the title of World Book Capital City, as announced today by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay. IFLA congratulates all those involved in the successful bid, and looks forward to a great mandate that provides inspiration and models for cities and libraries globally. 

The UNESCO World Book Capital City initiative highlights and shares great practices in encouraging creativity, and ensuring that everyone can access the benefits that books can bring.

Operating now for over 20 years, it has seen towns and cities around the world take it in turns to develop and deliver plans that strengthen the book sector and its reach and impact into society.

Libraries, alongside publishers, authors, and booksellers are all important stakeholders in these efforts, with libraries in particular well placed given their traditional role in making sure that no-one, regardless of their economic, social or other situation, is excluded.

Concerning the holder of the title from 23 April 2024 until 22 April 2025, following recommendations from the World Book Capital jury (of which IFLA is a member), the UNESCO Director-General therefore chose Strasbourg to hold the title.

They will follow on from the current holder – Guadalajara, Mexico – and the 2023 one – Accra, Ghana.

As highlighted in UNESCO’s own news story, Strasbourg’s bid built on an understanding that books can have a vital role in helping societies to address the major challenges that they face, including climate change, polarisation and a lack of social cohesion.

As a border city, as well as host of the European Parliament, it is also symbolic of internationalism and friendship and contacts between countries.

Finally, of course, it is a city with a very strong library infrastructure, including the National University Library of Strasbourg, which combines important research and cultural missions.

Strasbourg’s tenure as World Book Capital promises to be an exciting one, and to offer valuable experiences and examples for libraries around the world in our work to ensure that books, and information, realise their potential to drive sustainable development.