SINGAPORE - The first nationwide celebration of the joy and importance of reading kicked off on Saturday morning (July 30) with a slew of literary activities.
National Reading Day, which will fall on the last Saturday of July each year, was launched by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim at the National Library Building.
Some 300 people including students and families gathered there to take part in the Read For Books campaign, in which for every 10 people who read for 15mins, one book is donated to reading programmes run by the National Library Board (NLB) for less privileged children. Over 6,000 books have been donated so far by OCBC Bank and Scholastic over the week-long campaign till Saturday (July 30).
The campaign and National Reading Day are part of the five-year National Reading Movement launched on June 3, which aims to encourage Singaporeans to "read more, read widely and read together" with family and friends.
The NLB will continue to work on different programmes to accommodate a variety of interests and reading habits, said Dr Yaacob.
"There are multiple platforms now, people are reading on social media, people are reading on their smartphones. I think as long as they read something, that's important for us," he said.
"Going forward with Smart Nation with how knowledge is going to be very pervasive, reading becomes important also as a lifelong habit for you to upgrade yourself, train and pick up new skills necessary for you to gain employment," he added.
Music and drama performances, talks and storytelling sessions are being held throughout the day at the National Library Building and at libraries islandwide.
From the morning, Athletes from TeamSG were at the plaza of the National Library Building to meet visitors and share their book recommendations with them. Also on display was the Library Quilt, sewn by a group of expatriate women and presented to the NLB.
Visitors were invited to pick up a free pre-loved library book and sign a pledge to read. Over the course of the two-month pledging campaign, which ends on Saturday (July 30), more than 420,000 pledges were made.