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Iranian Festival for Bibliophile Villages

7 Nov 2019 - 15:24

IBNA- The Iranian Festival for Bibliophile Villages is an annual event for ‎nomination of ‎ten Villages as Bibliophile Villages of Iran. ‎

The program ‎was launched jointly by a variety of different stakeholders including official ‎and civil organization as well as NGOs and private sectors. In order to ‎participate in the festival, the villages are required to present both their ‎past and present capacities and achievements as well as their plans for ‎development of reading initiatives and facilities within the village.



History

After the introduction of Iran’s Book Capital, there was a need to take ‎some actions for villages and rural areas. Therefore, ‎a special plan was designed as villages could introduce their ‎special capacities and launch new programs to develop it. ‎

Since the early introduction in 2014, in 5 years, four calls were made ‎and a significant number of villages replied and applied for the title. ‎

 

In the first year, about 620 villages participated in the festival and this ‎increased to 1300 villages in the fourth year. The profile of each village, ‎including reports on their past achievements and activities and ‎documents on their future plans, undergoes a series of assessments and ‎evaluations. Finally 20 villages are introduced as the candidates and then ‎only 10 villages are designated as Bibliophile Villages.



Objectives

‎1.‎ Development of infrastructures and activities at the rural level for ‎promotion of reading;‎

‎2.‎ Provision of a field for collaboration between public and private ‎stakeholders as well as NGOs and independent reading activists;‎

‎3.‎ Allocation of public and private capitals and resources for ‎promotion of reading and books;‎

‎4.‎ Indirect promotion of future plans and middle and long-term ‎planning at local level;‎

‎5.‎ Supporting new and innovative ideas for reading promotion;‎

‎6.‎ Decentralization and tendency toward planning at the local level;‎

‎7.‎ Design and implementation of attractive and popular programs for ‎reading promotion.‎

 

Partner Organizations

‎●‎ UNESCO National Commission ‎

‎●‎ The National Organization for Municipalities and Rural Management

‎●‎  The Institute for Public Libraries

● ‎Scientific Association for Library and Informatics

● ‎Association of Writers for Children and Young Adults

● The Union for Publishers and Booksellers

● Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance

● ‎Presidential Deputy for Development of Rural and Underprivileged ‎ Areas ‎

‎●‎ Network of Bibliophile Villages

 

Executive Procedures

The festival is the result of joint efforts by a variety of stakeholders from ‎public and private sectors in rural settings and for the promotion of ‎reading and development of related capacities. In order to participate in ‎the event, the villages are required to provide reports and documents on ‎their past achievements as well as their plans for future activities. These ‎reports should be signed by local authorities and the head of village ‎council and posted to the general secretariat office of the festival in ‎Tehran. ‎



There are two broad categories for the activities and initiatives of every ‎village:‎

‎●‎ Infrastructural activities such as building and equipment of ‎libraries, allocation of land for such purposes and other ‎construction affairs;‎

‎●‎ Promotional activities such as reading contests, book fairs, festivals, ‎inviting writers, and any other activity for the promotion of books ‎and reading culture.‎



According to this, every village will submit a profile. Then the secretariat ‎and the consultative body will evaluate the past activities and future plans ‎in two distinct phases and eventually decide on the name of candidates ‎and the final list of bibliophile villages. ‎

 

Results

The festival has not only influenced reading in villages and rural ‎societies, but also it has shown significant social outcomes. Reading has ‎actually served as an axis for social coherence and harmony. There is a ‎meaningful change in the general image of the village.



State officials ‎and key businessmen who hardly step into the villages are seen several ‎times during campaigns and ceremonies. Village council members find ‎new and more fundamental infrastructures to build for the people, the ‎infrastructures that empowers people to think and to talk and to build ‎even more.



Also, people find new contents and subjects to fill in their newly ‎discovered social media; they can even talk about their experiences of ‎collective reading to other people all over the country and globe. ‎Geographical barriers have already been shattered, now is the time to find ‎new languages and subjects for expression. Village kids find and follow ‎their favorite authors in social media.



Whatever is done in the name of books and reading in these villages ‎certainly goes far beyond the activity of reading promotion, reading in ‎these villages acts as a social institution. It is a space and a device for the ‎wider presence of women in social affairs.‎



Considering the fact that in the past, much has not been done in a planned ‎and coherent manner for reading promotion in villages, this event has ‎been welcomed by the villagers and has been widely reflected in rural ‎settings. ‎



Official media including national radio and TV channels widely cover ‎reading events and communities, regional and national newspapers and ‎magazines allocate new columns to reading events, making room for ‎further development of the project. ‎