How to avoid boredom during summer holidays? Read! In cafes, in trams, and even on the streets. For the first time in history almost twenty of the largest Krakow publishing houses have joined forces to present the best books of this summer to readers and, at the same time, to promote reading via modern technologies. As of today (the 1st of July) more than 60 bus and tram stop shelters in the city centre have turned into the Virtual Library of Publishers. Each book cover presented on posters is accompanied with the assigned QR code– you only need to scan it via your mobile phone and download a fragment of the desired book for free.
‘We want to promote reading among young people, who often use modern technologies to gain access to culture,’ explains Izabela Helbin, Director of the Krakow Festival Office. ‘I see more and more people reading in trams and buses, which makes me very happy. Through our vacation campaign we want to recommend the books that are worth reading and to facilitate and simplify access to interesting literature.’
The campaign that has been joined by almost 20 Krakow publishing houses – a5, Austeria, Bona, Dodo Editor, Fundacja Przestrzeń Kobiet, Insignis Media, Karakter, Koobe, Sine Qua Non, Skrzat, the Association of Polish Writers, WAM, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Wydawnictwo Otwarte, Znak, Znak Literanova and Znak Emotikon – will last till the end of August. On the streets you can come across three versions of posters presenting a total of 70 books. These include books from various fields, including: belles lettres (by Ignacy Karpowicz, Szczepan Twardoch, Richard Lourie), biographies (of Steve Jobs, Leo Messi, David Bowie etc.), poetry (Wisława Szymborska, Stanisław Barańczak, Zbigniew Herbert etc.), children’s literature (by Andrzej Maleszka and Michał Rusinek) as well as popular literature (Mariusz Wollny, Jakub Ćwiek).
The Virtual Library of Publishers is a part of a series of campaigns run by the Krakow Festival Office in order to promote a literary image of the city. The Krakow Festival Office organises two large literary festivals (the annual Conrad Festival and a biennial Czesław Miłosz Festival), eagerly contributes to initiatives of publishing houses which have their offices in Krakow, cooperates closely with the Book Fair, which is believed to be the most important event for the publishing industry; and supports all initiatives aimed at making the residents of Krakow and tourists familiar with literature. Apart from that, within the scope of the Reading Małopolska programme, the Krakow Festival Office carries out a number of promotional activities aimed at emphasising the literary potential of the region. Within the past year alone, the Krakow Festival Office has also organised two large international conferences which drew the greatest figures of the literary world to Krakow, including representatives of UNESCO Cities of Literature, as well as members of PEN International and ICORN. In addition to that, an interactive multimedia Internet portal – readingmalopolska.pl – was created as a compendium of knowledge on literary attractions of the region. For more than a year, in co-operation with Bookeriada.pl, the Krakow Festival Office has organised The Second Life of a Book – a huge free book swap campaign that has gained the recognition of readers and attracts hundreds of reading fans every month. It is no coincidence that Krakow was the first city in Poland to mark Seats for Readers in public transportation vehicles; this was done to celebrate the Miłosz Year two years ago.