IFLA attended a meeting of the UNESCO World Book Capital Network in Wroclaw, Poland, on 22-23 September, bringing the perspective of the global library field as the participating cities formally signed the Network charter, and made plans for future actions. 

As a member of the UNESCO World Book Capital Advisory Committee, IFLA works alongside representatives of authors, publishers and booksellers in order to provide recommendations concerning upcoming holders of the title.

However, with a growing list of past holders, there is rich potential to draw on this network to support reading and publishing in cities around the world. Each of the cities involved has valuable experience of work to promote reading, make books accessible for all, and stimulate local creativity and publishing.

It was on this basis that in April of this year, the then-holder of the title, Tbisili, Georgia, hosted a meeting at which a new Network Charter was agreed, setting out the key goals and values that the Network would pursue, as well as clearer indications of what would be expected of future title-holders.

In September, the Network therefore met again, this time in Wroclaw, a former host of IFLA’s own World Library and Information Congress, with, for the first time, representatives from Strasbourg, which recently was awarded the title from April 2024.

In addition to a formal signing ceremony for the Charter, the meeting discussed how it could take forward the Network’s missions, notably around supporting cities interested in bidding for the title, as well as other activities that would contribute to achieving its goals.

Many World Book Capital teams are run by librarians, meaning that there is a strong basis for ensuring that the priorities and potential of libraries is well represented in this work. Through its participation, IFLA worked with participating cities in order to ensure an impactful and practical set of actions going ahead, as well as engaging directly with cities involved.

We look forward to working further with the Network in order to spread good ideas and practices for ensuring that everyone has access to books and learning.