A message for World Book Day 2010

Statistics in Malta unfailingly tell us that the Maltese do not like reading very much, but very often, contact with the Maltese tells another story, National Book Council chairman Gorg Mallia said in a message for World Book Day 2010, marked yesterday.

“It is true that the Maltese climate, the Maltese distances, even up to a certain point our intrinsic habits, do not encourage us to read, yet thousands of euros in books are bought locally every year. And last year 458 new books were published in Malta! In a market of a few hundred thousand this is marvellous and indicates that the Maltese love books.”

The National Book Council still intends to delve deep into the statistics to try and discover the causes, in order to find remedies that are more scientific than the ones being implemented now, but the fact that the field of books in Malta is so vibrant is encouraging, he said. “The simple fact that, for example, around 17,000 people visited the Malta Book Fair tells us that the ‘missionaries’ are there, and it is not impossible that ‘converts’ will increase.”

“We need to increase subscription and visits to our libraries. Right now there is a strong promotional campaign in process with the specific intention of drawing the attention of the Maltese to the biggest book depositories in our country. Now we need to add books, replace the old ones with new ones, open new sections of popular publications, like there is in public libraries away from our shores, change the looks of the reading rooms, and I have no doubt that the dedicated, motivated workers that work in our libraries will immediately start seeing the deserved fruit of their hard work.”

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