World Book Day 2020 would have been a special event anyway, marking 25 years since the first celebration in 1995. But this year’s celebration will be particularly special, given the global COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, which have dramatically changed people’s lives around the world.

The pandemic has provided a powerful reminder of the importance of books and reading as a source of comfort and distraction in stressful times. Demand for eBooks – both from libraries and bookshops – has risen dramatically in many countries.

In particular, and in line with the theme of this year’s World Book Day, libraries are innovating in order to help their users, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from all that reading can bring. They are giving new people access, and finding safe ways of sharing materials with all users.

Through this, libraries are truly contributing to the goals of this year’s World Book Day – to ensure that books are a force for combatting isolation and loneliness.

So what can you do? Here are just eight ideas!

  1. Watch the video message prepared by IFLA’s President, Christine Mackenzie, to mark the day! In it, she explains the history of the day, and encourages everyone to follow the Catalan tradition of celebrating with a book and a rose!
  2. Read our Literacy and Reading Section’s news story! The section has been gathering examples from around the world of how libraries are promoting books and reading, engaging with their communities in order to improve lives in difficult circumstances. Their Facebook page has even more examples.  
  3. Find out about the SDG Book Club! IFLA has been proud to be involved in this effort with the United Nations and partner organisations to highlight books that can help young people learn about the issues covered in the Sustainable Development Goals. There are ideas in all of the UN’s six official languages!
  4. Learn about how libraries around the world are promoting literacy and education through our SDG Stories! We have great examples from almost all parts of the world of how libraries are promoting SDG 4 – quality education – to inspire you and inform your advocacy.
  5. Think about how you can advocate for libraries to be a part of effective and comprehensive literacy and reading strategies. Thanks to our section, we have a helpful toolkit on how you can get involved.
  6. Check out the messages, stories and quotes prepared by UNESCO. With the focus on ensuring that everyone has the possibility to access books, there are many powerful demonstrations of the power of reading to include.
  7. See how Kuala Lumpur has celebrated becoming World Book Capital! Despite not being able to hold an event in person, the organisers have posted a video on socia media. 
  8. And eighth… get away from it all by reading a book! We’ve created a special Facebook frame so that if you want to share a picture of how books are helping you to escape confinement – here’s a simple way to add it.

Find out more about the work of IFLA’s Literacy and Reading section.