Skopje, 23 April 2019 (MIA) – The St. Clement of Ohrid National and University Library joined libraries worldwide in celebrating World Book and Copyright Day, established in 1995 by UNESCO to pay tribute to books and writers and to promote reading.
Given that the UN proclaimed 2019 to be the International Year of the Indigenous Languages, the 24th edition of World Book and Copyright Day has focused on the importance of protecting indigenous languages and their literatures.
“Let us join together to celebrate books as the embodiment of creativity, the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding, dialogue and tolerance,” wrote Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, in her message on World Book and Copyright Day.
In his World Book and Copyright Day message, Macedonian filmmaker Milcho Manchevski wrote he needed books like “a bird needs air or a grass needs sunlight.”
“My mom died four months before I started school,” Manchevski wrote. The only thing that helped him cope, he said, was books.
“Books, comic books, children’s books, adult books, fairy-tales, short stories, myths and legends, stories of cowboys and Indians, all kinds of books… I got completely lost in books for hours, days, weeks, for months on end,” Manchevski wrote.
World Book and Copyright Day celebrates local and international authors who “have built bridges between the past and the future, bridges across worlds and cultures,” according to Biljana Prentoska, secretary general of the Ministry of Culture’s National Committee for UNESCO.
April 23 was the date chosen by UNESCO to mark the day that William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died.
The national library has been hosting the annual World Book and Copyright Day celebration with the support of the Embassy of Spain also to honor the Catalan custom of exchanging books and roses on the day of their patron, Sant Jordi.
Spanish Ambassador Emilio Lorenzo Serra said books matter even more in today’s “turbulent times of fake news and propaganda.” mr/17:32