It’s no secret: Strasbourg has a weakness for accumulating “capital of” titles. Christmas, Europe, love, cycling and even the disabled beach label, the titles are numerous. And it seems that our city wants to add a new one in your pocket. In fact, as Jeanne Barseghian announced this Thursday morning, April 21, Strasbourg is a candidate to become the world capital of books with the UNESCO label in 2024.
” Our candidacy is carried by the breath of history and is the result of Strasbourg’s long and intense relationship with books “. Jeanne Barseghian was lyrical this Thursday, April 21, during the press conference for the presentation of the candidacy of Strasbourg as capital of the 2024 book of the UNESCO seal. This candidacy, already registered in the ecologist program during the 2020 municipal elections, was presented by the City Council on April 15.. If it wins, it will thus become the first French city to win the label.
” Strasbourg is a city that reads »
And that is saying something that the municipality is confident in the chances of winning. In fact, Jeanne Barseghian declares: “ We have every chance to win this seal. Our city has countless assets. The book in Strasbourg is alive, abundant and multiple, with a creative bubbling and literary emulation that has never ceased. “. It must be said that the history of the book is closely linked to that of Strasbourg. In fact, it is in our city that Gutenberg invented the typographic system. It was also in our Alsatian capital that the newspaper Relationshipconsidered the first modern organ for disseminating information. Today, Strasbourg and its Eurometropolis already have 40 publishing houses, 25 bookshops and a network of 59 public or heritage libraries, including the famous BNU. As well as great literary events, such as the Ideal Libraries or the International Encounters of Illustration.
As the mayor said: Strasbourg is a city that reads “And that is now a candidate for the title of world book capital in 2024. If it wins, it would succeed Accra, the Ghanaian city chosen in 2023, after Guadalajara this year. However, becoming the World Book Capital does not only mean wanting a new title in the City trophy case.” This is not a prestigious candidacy, we do not want another capital title. We request to act, to defend the authors artists as well as the trades of the book and the illustration.. They are guarantees of freedom of expression and a barrier against all forms of extremism. says Jeanne Barseghian. Before adding: The UNESCO label is not a 100% heritage label. It is also based on programming with a very strong social component. “.
“Reading our world”: a literary ambition
Thus, the City Council wants to launch its literary program. Named “Read our World” and co-constructed with over 150 different actorsrevolves around 5 axes and 25 programs, presented by Anne Mistler, cultural assistant:
- First there is ” Strasbourg, crossroads of ideas and debates », which wants to make the Strabourgers and the Strabourgers discuss the issues of society and current affairs.
- Next, ” Strasbourg, a creative and poetic city it intends to develop the reading of films and, more generally, to develop the creativity of all residents of Strasbourg.
- By his side, ” Strasbourg city of refuge wants to make culture a weapon for peace and humanism, in particular with a program called “Mujeres mujeres mujeres” – not the same version as Serge Lama’s.
- ” Strasbourg, an emancipatory and ecological city », aims to raise awareness about ecological issues.
- At the end, ” Strasbourg, a child-friendly city aims to (re)give children a taste for reading.
In total, 1 million euros of budget for the year 2022, then the same amount in 2023. In 2024, there will be 2.5 million euros of budget for all events.. ” This is a very strong commitment to culture, which is a pillar of our policy. » explains Jeanne Barseghian. Furthermore, even if Strasbourg does not win the title of world book capital, the City will continue to carry out all its actions: “ Whatever happens, we will carry out the projects and actions imagined “.
Some additional projects
Parallel to the “Read Our World” project, the University of Strasbourg, one of the many partners, will inaugurate its Studium, its new library. Subsequently, for the expected reopening of the Zoological Museum, the City Council will develop a “Reading to the living” program in 2024, in order to associate reading with the challenges of biodiversity. Collaborations are also planned with the CAF, the Prison Integration and Probation Service (SPIP) and the Strasbourg Hospitals.
Finally, in line with its democratic pillar, the municipality also plans to encourage citizen participation through reading. Book clubs will take root in all parts of the city, as will read quotes or literary karaoke. That is, use books and reading as a vehicle for meeting, curiosity and, above all, fun.
With its candidacy to become the world book capital in 2024, Strasbourg wants above all to expand its actions in the field of culture, one of the poor relatives of environmental policies since the beginning of the mandate. This ambitious candidacy is therefore a step in the right direction. From now on, we will have to wait until the summer of 2022 to find out the winning city. Fingers crossed for Strasbourg.