The National Central Library (NCL) will host a major carnival in Taipei next month as part of an annual reading festival to encourage love and appreciation of books, NCL Director-General Tseng Shu-hsien (曾淑賢), said Thursday.
The carnival on Dec. 7 in Daan Forest Park and will feature activities such as music performances, arts and crafts displays, storytelling, and guided tours of the park, Tseng said at a press conference.
Some 41 storytelling tents will be erected in the park to present children's stories in Chinese, English, Hakka, and Taiwanese, according to Tseng.
In addition, the Polish, Mexican, Italian, Israeli, and Slovakian foreign representative offices in Taipei will also set up booths to showcase their literature and storybooks and to invite participation in their activities and programs, she said.
"That allows us to travel the world through books, to experience diverse cultures and broaden our horizons," she said.
Another highlight of the carnival will be a book market, at which 22 publishers will sell their books, Tseng said.
"If you love reading, buying books is must," she said. "It is a joy to own your favorite books."
The carnival is part of the Taiwan Reading Festival, an annual two-month nationwide program that was launched in 2013. Under the program, public libraries and schools in the 22 cities and counties across Taiwan usually hold activities in November and December to promote reading.
Chu Nan-Shyan (朱楠賢), chief secretary at the Ministry of Education, said NCL statistics indicate that reading is part of Taiwanese lifestyle.
In 2018, there were 91.98 million visits to public libraries across the country, with 77.91 million books borrowed, he said, citing NCL data.
Chu, however, called for greater parental involvement in children's reading habits.
"Parents must participate in their children's reading efforts and try not to see that as a responsibility limited to teachers," he said. "When parents read with their children, it creates family bonds and helps children to better understand what they are reading."