To celebrate the global campaign of World Book Day 2019, the Ministry of Culture has coordinated with governmental organizations, museums, libraries, and independent bookstores to organize over 100 reading activities at 620 sites across Taiwan through the "Literary Walking Tours of Taiwan" program from April 20 through May 5.
The Ministry announced the walking tour program on April 17 at a press conference held at Nanmen Park of the National Taiwan Museum. The program will help participants experience local folk festivals and heritage sites through walking tours, and gain a better understanding of the literary and historic events in different regions of Taiwan.
Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun stated that this will mark the third straight year of Taiwan's World Book Day celebrations. This year, the Ministry is working with participating organizations — including the Ministry of Education, local government agencies, museums, libraries, and independent bookstores — to curate routes that incorporate key local sites; those who complete the walking tours will hopefully gain an interest in reading about such sites, she added.
The Minister then pointed out that analytical thinking strengthened through reading is crucial to a nation’s soft power. To boost the size of Taiwan's active reading population, the Ministry has also worked with the Ministry of Education in promoting excellent non-academic publications at middle and elementary schools, as well as assisting the development and transformation of brick-and-mortar bookstores, literary websites, and digital publications, she said.
Moreover, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance are now cooperating on a plan to cut value-added tax for the publishing industry and free up more resources that can be directed into creative and knowledge-based projects. The process that guides the procurement of books by public agencies and libraries has also been restructured to prevent book prices from being driven even lower by malicious bidding practices.
The "Literary Walking Tour of Taiwan" program also echoes the main objectives of the "Cultural Routes" and "Reconstruction of Taiwanese Art History" initiatives that the Ministry is pushing hard in cooperation with other organizations at home. For example, a tea-themed walking tour organized by the nonprofit Corporate Synergy Development Center will take visitors to the industrial, cultural, and historic sites of New Taipei City's Pinglin District, where they can meet and talk to tea farmers, researchers, and writers.
Another fine arts-themed tour organized by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts will encompass the nation's fine arts history as well as galleries and art collections in the greater Taichung area. Special emphasis will be placed on introducing the lives of artists who were based in Taichung, as well as central Taiwan's ever-advancing environment for the fine arts.
Sunny PLI (晴天P莉), a popular Taiwanese character featured by the chat app LINE, will also serve as a handy companion on Taiwan's official World Book Day 2019 website and on participants' phones. Those who follow the official LINE account of Openbook, the Ministry’s partnering organization for this event, will be able to receive the latest updates on all available walking tours in 19 cities and counties from Sunny PLI.
Find out more at https://readingpass.openbook.org.tw/2019worldbookday.