Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said at a news conference that dedicating the year 2021 to reading was part of the national strategy promoting reading, which had gained special importance in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, when organising cultural events involving a large number of participants had become impossible.
It was therefore only natural to dedicate this year to reading, “an activity that we associate with our intimate space, that does not jeopardise anyone and that enriches everyone involved in it,” she said.
The minister said that the results of a project on the role of reading in building an inclusive society, for which funding was secured from the European Social Fund, would be published soon, as well as that funds that would not be mobilised due to a ban on international fairs would be redirected to promote domestic cultural activities.
Obuljen Koržinek expressed confidence those activities would result in better indicators regarding books and reading and that trends on reading habits, which have been stagnating for a long time, would change for the better.
Maja Zrnčić of the Culture and Media Ministry spoke about programmes to take place in the Year of Reading.
She said an important goal of the event was to make existing programmes – awards, festivals, fairs and other book events – more visible, as well as promote new programmes, including the project “Born to read”, which promotes a love of reading from early years onwards and as part of which free picture books will be distributed to pediatric offices across the country to be passed on to parents.
The ministry also intends to improve the status of authors and translators and make them more visible.
Another event, which is part of the national strategy promoting reading, is National Day of Reading, when Croatians will be reading at the same time at different places.
In October, an international conference on ways to promote reading will be held.
There is also a plan to declare public figures, such as actors, athletes, doctors and the like, ambassadors of reading.
Local and regional government units have been asked to enable free library membership for all young people this year, Zrnčić said while speaking about the activities planned for this year to promote reading.