The festivities planned in conjunction with the year-long Kuala Lumpur World Book Capital (KLWBC) 2020 are well under way, albeit mostly in the virtual sphere due to the pandemic.
Launched on April 23 with the slogan "KL Baca: Caring Through Reading”, KLWBC organisers have planned a series of online activities and book promotions to nurture the reading habit among the public.
For the city authorities, KLWBC 2020 is the exact impetus they need to turn Kuala Lumpur into a book-friendly city.
As part of efforts to cultivate the reading habit among its denizens, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will erect a total of 64 book kiosks in various parts of the city where passers-by can take a break to read a book and even take home one if they wish, said KLWBC 2020 Promotion and Publicity Committee head Khairul Azmir Ahmad.
He said so far, 33 kiosks have been completed and these are located in the backstreets and alleys of buildings, and tourist "hot spots” such as the River of Life sites. The remaining kiosks will be completed before KLWBC 2020 draws to a close next April.
The kiosks have racks filled with books donated by the public and benches as well.
Explaining why some of the book kiosks are situated in the lonely and sometimes crime-infested back lanes of buildings, Khairul Azmir said: "We want to upgrade and beautify the alleys by putting the kiosks there and drawing murals on the walls.
"We want to give a new image to such areas and turn them into a place where city folk can hang out and engage in recreational activities. We want to create a place for people to read and also an Instagram-worthy location for youths.”
Khairul Azmir said in support of its initiative to encourage city folk to read more, DBKL, in collaboration with Kuala Lumpur Library, has launched a campaign to get the public and various organisations to donate books to the KLWBC 2020 secretariat.
"The books donated have to be in good condition and should not touch on sensitive issues such as religion, politics and culture. The books will be assessed and recorded by the secretariat before they are placed at the various book kiosks, ” he added.
He said Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) has also been decorated with flags bearing the KLWBC 2020 logo as it was initially meant to be the official road for KLWBC as it leads to Dataran Merdeka, the original venue for the launch ceremony.
"Although the launch took place virtually, Jalan TAR is retained as the official road as several book shops and libraries located there are over 60 years old.”
To remind city folk and visitors of the honour bestowed on Kuala Lumpur, a sign depicting the KLWBC logo has been erected on the compound of a colonial bungalow located at Jalan Tangsi here, which serves as the KLWBC 2020 secretariat office.
The World Book Capital event was first announced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2001 and in 2018, Kuala Lumpur was named WBC for the year 2020. The event is launched on April 23 every year in conjunction with Unesco’s World Book and Copyright Day.
KLWBC 2020 is organised by DBKL in collaboration with Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, National Library of Malaysia, National Book Council, Malaysian Book Publishers Association and Perbadanan Kota Buku. - Bernama
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