UNESCO has published the call for cities interested in holding the title of World Book Capital 2024. The successful candidate will have a great opportunity to develop and showcase initiatives that promote reading and books, benefitting their own citizens, and offering inspiration to others elsewhere.

The title of UNESCO World Book Capital City is held each year by a town or city which commits to act to create a culture of reading. The title can provide an important impetus to experiment and innovate in the ways that literacy and reading are promoted, as well as to invest in key infrastructure, not least libraries.

Crucial themes include inclusion and the protection and promotion of rights, working to ensure both that all residents are able to enjoy and benefit from books, as well as cultural rights and intellectual freedom.

Past holders of the title have opened new libraries or renovated existing ones, developed new programming and services, held festivals and events, and organised outreach activities within communities. There has also been a lasting impact on the place of books and reading in local development strategies.

The call for the holder from 23 April 2024 to 22 April 2025 is now open, with cities invited to submit their bids via the UNESCO website, which also shares useful information about what previous holders have done, as well as the criteria against which candidacies are evaluated.

The deadline is 15 April 2022, and applications should be made according to the instructions on the site, and using the form for this purpose. Please note that with Accra holding the title in 2022, applications are not open this year to cities in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, or to cities in the following countries, which have been successfully nominated fewer than ten year ago: Mexico, Georgia, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Greece, Guinea, Poland and the Republic of Korea.

As a member of the advisory committee making recommendations to the UNESCO Director General, IFLA strongly welcomes bids from towns and cities which have an ambition to make books and reading a key part of the lives of their communities.

Libraries and library associations can play an important role in preparing bids, and may even wish to initiate these, working closely with municipal authorities, as well as other key stakeholders such as writers’ organisations, bookshops and publishers.

Take a look at the UNESCO website in order to learn more!