Poland’s first major campaign by local government officials to promote reading has been launched. The Union of Polish Metropolises, i.e. the 12 largest Polish cities, including Szczecin, and the Universal Reading Foundation are demonstrating why reading has the potential to brighten the world.
#Czytanie Rządzi [#ReadingRules]: it’s an activity we love, it helps people grow, and it is immersive. Just like sports. And, as with sports, the upcoming summer holidays are an excellent time for reading. #CzytanieRządzi: it exercises our mind, puts us in shape: intellectually, socially and emotionally stable, healthy, and competent! Mayors of twelve Polish metropolises appear as ambassadors of reading – they invite you to a semi-private conversation, share their literary tastes and show that #CzytanieRządzi!
The common personal commitment of the Mayors of the largest Polish cities to promote reading reflects their concern for the development of their residents.
“Reading is fundamentally important for so many reasons. When discussing it, we should draw attention to elements which are so often not mentioned – for example, the fact that reading fiction increases our empathy. Emotional intelligence, the readiness to try to understand another person, the competence to understand their emotions – this is, after all, an unspeakably important issue in times of war and conflict. Szczecinians, as citizens of a city on the border of cultures, appreciate this value perhaps like no one else. Let's read – if not for knowledge, then for better mutual understanding! Szczecin wholeheartedly joins the #CzytanieRządzi campaign,” emphasises Piotr Krzystek, the Mayor of Szczecin
The #CzytanieRządzi campaign is the first such powerful and wide-ranging commitment of Poland’s highest local authorities to promote reading.
“Following the events of recent months, we have come to a conclusion that now more than ever, besides the necessary short-term measures, we have to implement substantial long-term initiatives to build the foundations of an open, democratic and competent society – and the research proves that readers form such societies. Therefore, with even greater commitment, as a group of twelve mayors, speaking in one voice, we encourage everyone to read. Not for the beauty of the spirit, but for democracy, science and social development of our citizens, cities and country. After all, #CzytanieRządzi!,” explains Tadeusz Truskolaski, Mayor of Białystok, President of the Management Board of the Union of Polish Metropolises.
“Reading rates in Poland are at an alarmingly low level; we read much less than our neighbouring nations. The available research suggests that expanding the reading public will translate into increasing the potential of our economy, innovation and the strength of our democracy. Therefore, it should be one of the top priorities of every influential person – whether it is a company boss who cares about the reading habits of employees and their families, government officials who affect different areas of our lives, or parents raising children. For several years, the Universal Reading Foundation has been working to raise the issue of increased reading rates to the status of one of the most important challenges for contemporary Poland, thus, we are delighted to co-create the #CzytanieRządzi campaign. We hope that the involvement of the Mayors will provide a powerful impetus to intensify action, so we invite everyone who cares about the future of our communities to join in,” concludes Maria Deskur, President of the Universal Reading Foundation and Head of the Słowne Publishing House.
Communities of readers create empowered economies and civil societies, actively shaping their future. OECD studies reveal that reading improves children’s chances of succeeding at school and, consequently, at work. Reading has been proven to reduce status differences. If a child enjoys reading, that fact will have a greater impact on their success than their background. Reading together with a parent has also been proven to help children’s social and emotional development, and reading fiction increases our empathy. Nowadays, reading is called the most essential single factor to support sustainable development, which is why #CzytanieRządzi.
The campaign is accompanied by films in which the mayors and presidents talk about their reading, but also reveal private aspects of their habits – we will find out who bends corners, who reads in the bathtub and whose friends have not returned their books.
What does Mayor Piotr Krzystek read? What is his favourite book from childhood? In the footsteps of which book hero does he travel around Europe? Does he prefer a library or a bookshop? What does he like more: biographies or fantasy? You can check it out:
The Universal Reading Foundation and the Union of Polish Metropolises, i.e. twelve Polish metropolises: Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Lublin, Łódź, Poznań, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Warsaw and Wrocław – all together – have the pleasure of inviting you to a great joint effort to increase reading rates in Poland. A lot is already happening in the cities, but pro-reading activities will be strengthened and more ideas will be launched. The organisers intend the campaign to be a starting point for a huge collective long-term effort, talks, debates and work towards broadening the circle of readers in Poland. Everyone is invited: parents, children, teachers, librarians, local government officials, institutions, companies and NGOs.
All details concerning the #CzytanieRządzi campaign can be found, among others, at https://fpc.org.pl/czytanie-rzadzi/
Low reading rates in Poland is a problem for each and every one of us!
Szczecin’s reading enthusiasts also have plenty to choose from! For years, the Municipal Public Library has been organising various events and actions related to the promotion of reading, among which literally everyone will find something for themselves. A Little Book is a Big Man, Discussion Book Clubs, Zaczytany Szczecin (Szczecin Immersed in Reading), Summer holidays with a book, and the OKOlice Literatury festival represent just a few of the activities undertaken by the municipal library staff. Thanks to them, Szczecin’s reading rates are flourishing, attracting more and more enthusiasts of various literature genres. All details about the current activities of the Municipal Public Library, including, among other things, events and meetings with authors, are available on the official website: https://mbp.szczecin.pl/.
The fact that a lot is happening in terms of reading in Szczecin is also evidenced by the developments occurring in our library buildings themselves. In recent years, more libraries have been built in the city. These are modern spaces that meet the modern demands of readers. Equipped with the latest multimedia facilities and a rich library collection, they are a real paradise for bookworms in Szczecin (and beyond!).
Another project worth mentioning is the Szczecin municipal programme “Promoting reading and literature in Szczecin”. Its main aim is not only to promote reading, but also to supply to the publishing market with the most ambitious works of recent Polish literature. Due to the measures taken, it is also possible to support independent writers and critics, present books, organise meetings with authors and implement initiatives conducive to the development of literary creativity. The programme is managed by the 13 Muz Community Centre in cooperation with the Forma Publishing House.