In late April this year in the city of Cluj Napoca, north-western Romania, right in the city center at the Casino - the Center for Urban Culture an event will be taking place, which is supposed to bring together children, young people from disadvantaged categories, publishers from Romania and writers.
The event is called European Book Day and we are going to find out more on it from Bianca Mereuță, director of the Signatura publishing house and organizer of this event in Romania:
Bianca Mereuta: "With European Book Day we intend to bring the young people closer to books in a manner as creative as possible, ways that young people may find interesting, pleasant and even funny so that they may see books as an alternative to multiple stimuli they face in everyday life and which are so exciting. European Book Day began in Austria, it was founded by our Austrian partners. It is a project co-funded by Erasmus+ in which five countries are staging events through which young people from vulnerable environments with limited access to cultural events and books may get into contact with authors, the world of books and education and with other young people. They may thus spend some good time together and share the joy of reading. The project is underway in four European countries and the fifth is the communicational partner of the entire concept. Like I said Austria is the initiator of the project and the event will be held in Romania on April 27th. It will be followed by the events in Sweden in May and it will come to an end in Germany in November. European Book Day is targeting the young people."
European Book Day is at the beginning, at its first edition and attendance is free. But what is the event like? And what exactly is going to happen during this event? Here is again Bianca Mereuță:
Bianca Mereuta:" European Book Day wants to bring youngsters close to books, whet their appetite for reading. So, youngsters from disadvantaged categories and young people who have access to education and books from well-off families will meet and spend some good time together. Prior to the main event, with young people from disadvantaged categories we held a series of workshops of creative writing and art during which they managed to create literary works, which are going to be on display during the European Book Day. In this way we tried to show them that reading, books and creativity are available to everyone. Everybody can create and we all have the resources to create but in order to achieve this goal we must have a foundation of culture and the awareness of the importance of education. On April 27th starting 11:30, young people and adults alike, accompanied by children of course, are expected to join us at the Casino - the Urban Culture Center and enjoy a series of book-inspired events and we also hope that we are going to spend together a couple of good hours. Young people need to think outside the box and see beyond the easy alternatives they have to quickly satisfy their needs. They need to be aware of this long-term promise, that of education, which is easily done step by step but which is actually constructive for the personality of a human being."
At the end of our discussion Bianca Mereuță, organizer of European Book Day shared the future expectations in relation to this project.
Bianca Mereuta: "We'd like to turn European Book Day into a multiannual event which reaches out to as many young people around Romania as possible. They need that. So, European Book Day will hopefully grow and have an impact in the hearts and minds of those coming to Cluj these days and linger in their memory. We hope they'll understand the habit of daily reading."
We should also note that starting this year Romania has a National Reading Day, which is marked on February 15th as according to statistics the daily average time a Romanian spends reading is five minutes and most people read about a book a year. And in a country where 10% of its citizens are buying a book a year, the school plays an essential role in cultivating an apparently obsolete activity, reading as a way aimed at saving us from a superficial environment, where we are making decisions without thinking. Reading builds deep and solid connections inside the mind of the reader, be they children or adults, the Ministry of Education said, and on that day changed the school timetable so that students were able to enjoy one hour of reading in classes. Teachers recommended children to bring to school one of the books they liked and read from it in classrooms. The objective of this action was to promote daily reading as a habit.