Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has been designated World Book Capital 2020. The title is awarded annually by UNESCO to a city in recognition of the quality of its programs to promote the dissemination and reading of books. The International Association of Publishers (IPA) and the International Federation of Booksellers’ Associations (IFLA) participate in the initiative.
Kuala Lumpur has chosen the motto, “Take care of reading,” because “a city that reads is a city that takes care of its inhabitants,” starting with its poorest citizens. Celebration of the event in the Malaysian capital will begin as usual on 23 April 2020, so as to coincide with World Book and Copyright Day. Four goals have been targeted: to promote reading in all its forms, to develop the infrastructure of the book industry, to foster digital inclusion and accessibility, and to enhance children’s ability to learn through reading. Some of the initiatives planned are a “book city,” a reading campaign for train commuters, and open-air bookshops and libraries along the city’s recently restored waterways. Accessibility to the National Library for the Disabled will also be improved, and new digital services will be installed in 12 libraries located in poor areas of Kuala Lumpur.