Toledo, April 17, 2023.- The public libraries of the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha have scheduled more than fifty activities, to be carried out mainly throughout this week, to commemorate Book Day, an annual celebration in the region since 1992. This was announced at a press conference by the Minister of Education, Culture, and Sports, Rosa Ana Rodríguez. Rodríguez was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports, Ana Muñoz, who pointed out that municipal libraries integrated into the regional library network, educational centers, and municipalities themselves are expected to organize over 3,000 additional activities.
According to the minister, “all of these events aim to highlight the importance of books as a key component of the cultural sector and to continue promoting reading habits among people of all ages.” The minister also unveiled the poster and manifesto created by two young Castilian-Manchegan artists with significant national projection in honor of the occasion. The poster was created by Coco Escribano, a visual artist from Quintanar del Rey, Cuenca, with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Castilla-La Mancha who has participated in solo and collective exhibitions and collaborated with various brands and publishers as an illustrator. 3000 copies of the poster have already been distributed to all public libraries and educational centers in the Autonomous Community.
Óscar Martínez, born in Almansa (Albacete), a professor at the Valencia School of Art and Superior Design, and a well-known writer, created the manifesto. Martínez’s work has been featured in Babelia, the cultural supplement of El País, which touted him as one of the most anticipated literary debuts in Spain in 2021. His books include “Umbrales Essays” and “The Painted Echo,” which was published this month by the publishing house Siruela. Martínez is also slated to read the manifesto during the events held in the Plaza del Altozano in Albacete on the 23rd of this month, and the text will be read aloud in libraries and educational centers throughout the region.
In addition, the Minister of Education, Culture, and Sports also announced that the Official Journal will publish a resolution tomorrow calling for subsidies to maintain contracts for municipal library personnel by local governments in Castilla-La Mancha in 2022. Throughout the year, the program has a total budget of €535,000, with maximum aid of €3,500 for municipalities with up to 2,500 inhabitants, €4,000 for those with 2,501 to 5,000 inhabitants, €4,500 for those with 5,001 to 20,000 inhabitants, and €5,000 for those with more than 20,000 inhabitants. The aid is awarded based on criteria such as whether the library belongs to the network of public libraries in Castilla-La Mancha, whether it effectively employs the automated management program for the network, and the municipality’s per capita spending on public libraries.
Castilla-La Mancha has 487 public libraries, making it the second most extensive library network in the country, serving nearly 750,000 users each year. The newly launched Portal de la Red de Bibliotecas de Castilla-La Mancha (https://reddebibliotecas.castillalamancha.es/) has been designed to replace the previous portal, with a more modern and intuitive interface that consolidates information about all the libraries and the regional library bus service, and features information about the ‘Purple Bookshelf’ project for children, the ‘Lullaby Book’ project, and rural reading initiatives.
As for specific activities commemorating Book Day, the minister reported that more than fifty events have been planned in the libraries of the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha this week. In Albacete, for example, there will be book presentations, story contests, workshops for high schools, adult storytelling, book fairs, caligraphy workshops, and more. The Junta de Comunidades, the Albacete City Council, and the Albacete Provincial Council will also organize numerous events, with booths representing institutions, bookstores, and tents hosting various literary marathons, workshops, and shows. Ciudad Real will feature children’s workshops and puppetry, poetry readings, and ‘baby storytime,’ as well as book discussions for seniors and an escape room for young people and adults. Expositions of local history and characters will be featured in the public libraries of Cuenca, which will also host book presentations, discussions, and music concerts, as well as taking part in the local book fair. In Guadalajara, schoolchildren will meet with writers, and the Euroamerican Chamber Orchestra will perform Don Quixote de la Mancha, while there will also be a traditional charity book sale to benefit Manos Unidas. The Library of Castilla-La Mancha in Toledo will offer micro-theatre performances, writing workshops, conferences about women’s rights and famous writers, and musical performances. Finally, the exhibition ‘Where Books Live: 250 Years of Public Libraries,’ will remain open in the main regional library until May 30th, showcasing the importance of public and municipal libraries in promoting reading and cultural activities throughout the region.
In conclusion, the Minister commended the work of the librarians, reading clubs, municipalities, and public institutions for their role in promoting reading and cultural activities everywhere in Castilla-La Mancha, from the cities to the smallest rural villages.