Photo: Free University of Tbilisi Library. CC-BY-SA 4.0 Free University of Tbilisi,​UNESCO has announced that Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, will be World Book Capital 2021. IFLA is looking forward to working with the authorities and libraries there to show the power of our institutions in promoting books and reading.

The UNESCO World Book Capital programme focuses on supporting access to, and the production of books. Built on the understanding that high levels of literacy and reading are linked to greater well-being and performance in other areas of development, it looks to celebrate innovative and leading practices at the local level.

The title of World Book Capital is awarded by the Director General of UNESCO, based on recommendations from an advisory committee including IFLA and the International Publishers Association. Through its engagement, IFLA encourages bids that take full advantage of the potential of libraries to deliver on the goals of the programme.

From April 2021, the holder of the title will therefore be Tbilisi. In this, they will follow on from the current holder, Sharjah (UAE) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) which will take on the role in April 2020.

With the theme ‘So your next book is…’, the year will focus on increasing the number of people reading – in particular the young – and the role that new technologies can play in bringing books to new audiences. 

IFLA is looking forward to working with our members in Georgia in order to make the most of the opportunity to highlight the power of libraries.

Through providing access to books and other materials, as well as a truly public space, libraries are key to delivering on the right to culture. They are a key part of the social, educational and cultural infrastructure of any town or city.

We are sure that Tbilisi’s time as World Book Capital will provide examples that will help inspire other cities around the world to place libraries at the heart of their development policies.