2012, Korea's National Year of Reading The Year of Reading is officially underway. In the months since this March when the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism designated 2012 as the National Year of Reading, various events and programs designed to encourage regular reading have taken place across the country.
On May 24, the first of the Book Dream concerts scheduled to take place throughout the year opened in Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province). Organized in partnership with Korail, the event included a music performance and readings by local poet Park Hae-su. Future Book Dream concerts will be held in major cities throughout Korea.
A book concert attended by Kwon So-hyun of K-pop group 4MINUTE(left) and Culture Minister Choe Kwang-sik (second from left) (photo: Gonggam Korea).
On May 30, Culture Minister Choe Kwang-sik was a special guest at a book concert in a bookstore in the Hongdae area, where he joined with Kwon So-hyun of K-pop group 4MINUTE as well as the head of the National Year of Reading Organizing Committee for a discussion with the public about the value of reading. The discussion was followed by a Q&A session and a special performance by indie musician Earip.
With slogans calling for the public to develop reading habits such as "20 minutes a day, 12 books a year", and proclaiming that "now is the time to read", the yearlong initiative aims to foster a cultural climate that encourages reading.
According to a recent survey performed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) on the amount of regular reading among Koreans, the popularity of reading as a daily practice has gradually decreased in recent years. In 2004, 76% of the study's target population reported reading as a regular pastime, and in 2011, this percentage went down to 66.8%.
The MCST will be working together with experts and officials from the publishing and library sectors to implement diverse programs throughout the year, including book fairs and book drives at cultural landmarks such as national palaces and royal mausoleums as well as at newly restored riverside areas.
A book drive was held in conjunction with the kickoff ceremony for the National Year of Reading in March. Author Lee Oisoo and Culture Minister Choe Kwang-sik take a look at the offerings (photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism).
Also in preparation are book counseling programs designed to provide emotional support for youths with gaming and Internet addictions. Last month saw the start of a book train program to deliver books and reading programs to the elderly, the disabled, and youths who otherwise have limited access to these resources.
Local governments will also be joining in the nationwide effort by organizing reading marathons, discussion and debate competitions, festivals for local book clubs, and networking events for organizations that promote reading. September, which has been designated as this year's month of reading, will see a wide array of events.
Similar initiatives have been carried out in countries such as England (in 1998 and 2008), Japan (in 2010), and Australia (in 2012) in order to encourage citizens to develop good reading habits.
More information on the activities of the MCST can be found at http://www.mcst.go.kr/english/index.jsp.
By Kwon Jungyun
Korea.net Staff Writer
Source : www.korea.net/NewsFoc... ( English Korean )
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