Slovenia Reads campaign to improve reading culture
On signing the document, GZS president Samo Hribar Milič said the chamber was concerned because Slovenians did too little reading, which he said affected their functional literacy as well as facing up everyday challenges.
The GZS believes that books and reading not only benefit the individual, but also have a positive impact on the economy, since they see literacy as part of professional competence.
Minister of Education and Sport Maja Makovec Brenčič said that her ministry was trying to get every child to read books and to read more, but that a major problem was the adults who did not read. Culture Minister Tone Peršak added that reading fostered the entrepreneurial spirit, knowledge and creativity.
The signing of the manifesto is but the first, symbolic gesture of the campaign, said Zdravko Kafol, the Slovenian Book Fair boss and director of the GZS's Chamber of Publishers and Booksellers.
Under the motto "One company one book", companies that wish to participate will be able to "adopt" a book of their choice and organise a few events or projects related to it.
Among the many choices for companies in this respect, Kafol listed talks with the author or book presentations, buying the book for business gifts, donating copies to a local library or underprivileged families, or even including a book's message in company documents as a symbolic gesture.
The campaign has already been endorsed by Human Rights Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer, retired journalism professor Manca Košir, journalist Irena Štaudohar, businessmen Janez Škrabec, Andrej Božič and Matjaž Gantar, and singer-songwriter Zoran Predin, who will serve as its ambassadors.
The 2016 Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) showed that adults in Slovenia were below OECD average in literacy, so Kafol said the campaign was aimed at reducing functional illiteracy in Slovenia by 20% in four years.
Editor Miha Kovač said that in the 1970s Slovenia was on a par with Norway in terms of reading literacy, while today it ranked in the lower middle class in Europe.
He does not think the reason is accessibility because the number of book titles since 1999 has risen by 25%, the number of sales points increased tenfold, there is a wide network of libraries and a growing number of e-books.