A Global Toast to the Book

(The following is an article written by David A. Taylor, external relations and program development officer in Library Services, for the November-December 2012 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine. The article takes a look at an event this Thursday and Friday that will celebrate one of the most powerful and crucial forms of information transmittal: the book.

The book—arguably the greatest container of knowledge in history—will be celebrated at the Library of Congress, Dec. 6 and 7, on the occasion of the first-ever International Summit of the Book. Legislators, policymakers, educators, authors, publishers, technologists and librarians will come together to discuss the value of books in expressing our humanity and promoting cultural understanding. They will also explore the history of the book and how the book is changing and, in the process, revolutionizing knowledge and culture throughout the world.

The summit will celebrate the role of libraries as temples of knowledge and their role in preserving what societies have learned and transmitted. It will explore how technology can be harnessed to preserve the values of the book culture, provide access to knowledge that has been preserved in libraries and engage citizens and schools in taking full advantage of the knowledge resources available to them through their libraries.

This free, public event will feature a diverse group of distinguished speakers and a compelling display drawn from the Library’s collections.

The Library has selected a group of highly respected speakers who will analyze the book from a variety of essential perspectives. They will include authors, educators, legislators, historians, rare-book experts, legal scholars, librarians, digital-media specialists, publishers, copyright attorneys, members of Congress and other policymakers. Two keynote addresses, three lectures and three moderated panels comprise the symposium. Topics will range from the history of book publishing to the future of the book in a digital world.

A new Library exhibition, “Books that Shaped the World,” will be on view at the summit. The display builds on the Library’s recent exhibition, “Books That Shaped America.”

The summit will be the first in a periodic series of international summits, held in different cities around the world, which will examine the revolution in knowledge and culture through the book, whatever its forms. The 2012 event at the Library of Congress—and subsequent summits in other cities—will address reading and writing at a time when language, thinking and communication are dramatically changing. The 2013 Summit will be held in Singapore.

“It is an honor for Singapore to host the Second International Summit of the Book following the inaugural summit organized by the prestigious Library of Congress,” said Elaine Ng, CEO of the National Library Board of Singapore.

“We look forward to an insightful debate on the evolving concept of the book from an Asian perspective. We are privileged to have Professor Tommy Koh, Singapore’s Ambassador-At-Large and former Ambassador to the United Nations, as chairman of the organizing committee. We warmly welcome everyone to the summit.”


International Summit of the Book

A download of  November-December 2012 issue of the LCM will be available in its entirety here this week. You can also view the archives of the Library’s former publication from 1993 to 2011.

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