In its role as a member of the World Book Capital (WBC) Advisory Committee, IFLA was invited to participate in a meeting of the WBC Network, held in Tbilisi, Georgia. The meeting provided an opportunity to shape core documentation, and highlight the need for future activities to include libraries and library goals, as well as to meet with IFLA Members locally.

The World Book Capital programme, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, celebrates the efforts of towns and cities around to promote books and reading, as part of wider city development strategies.

Run by UNESCO, IFLA has the honour of being a member of the advisory committee, working alongside the International Publishers Association and International Authors Forum to evaluate applications for the title.

In the context of the anniversary celebrations, the initiative was taken to explore how to make more of the experience and expertise of past holders, for the benefit of future candidates, other cities looking to draw on the power of books, and the past holders themselves.

The meeting in Tbilisi, kindly organised by the then-current World Book Capital, Tbilisi, Georgia, served to explore the types of actions that could be taken, and the values and goals that should underpin them.

IFLA’s participation focused on underlining the importance of an emphasis on inclusion, the potential of World Book Capital initiatives to make a reality of cultural rights, and on the importance of involving libraries. The central role of Tbilisi’s libraries in the city’s year as World Book Capital only underlines what is to gain from working with our institutions in this way.

Attendance at the meeting also made it possible to engage with IFLA’s Member in Georgia, the National Parliamentary Library, and to hear more about the intense work the Library carries out to identify and develop international linkages.

As already highlighted in our work on the benefits of libraries working with foreign embassies, this sort of cooperation can bring important benefits.

Congratulations to Tbilisi on a successful year as World Book Capital, and good luck to the new holder of the title, Guadalajara, Mexico.