The essential need to readSome 100 countries celebrated World Book and Copyright Day yesterday as designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The theme of the event to celebrate World Book Day in Korea was to encourage families to read books. The organizer explained that when families read together, they help to foster a better environment for books in schools, workplaces, the military and society in general.
Home is where people learn to enjoy books. In February this year, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism released a survey on how many books people read in 2007. When asked, 17.1 percent of grown-ups said they discussed books they read with their family, while only 14.4 percent of students said they did. Grown-ups read an average of 12.1 books a year, but one out of four grown-ups hadn’t read any book during the past year. Koreans spent an average of 11,500 won ($11) on buying books per month. Asked what they do in their leisure time, 24.1 percent said they watch TV but only 9.6 percent said they read.
People can find fragments of knowledge on the Internet. However, systematized and deep knowledge can be acquired only through books. We can get true knowledge and wisdom nowhere else but from books. Books are the best tools to form good personalities and foster one’s intellect and imagination because they contain insight, knowledge and narratives.
We develop the capacity to think seriously, we are moved emotionally and we are encouraged to use our imagination only when we read books. Books shape and define our future. Bill Gates says one of his most formative experiences as a child was visiting the local library.
Christopher Columbus only became a renowned explorer because he was inspired by “The Travels of Marco Polo” when he was 15. Archeologist Stephen Silliman was able to find Troy because he was moved by “The Iliad” by Homer.
“Our society mustn’t forget that books are the optimum medium of expression that deliver knowledge and stimulate the imagination. School and public libraries need to be restored back to health because when people are encouraged to read books, we are laying down the foundations for a decent, healthy, creative society.”
That is part of a declaration released by a Korean civic organization that worked to help people read more on World Book Day years ago.