National Book Day: October 29

Date celebrates the creation of the National Library in 1810 

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National Book Day, celebrated in Brazil on October 29, takes us back to the country’s colonial age. With the Portuguese court having come to Brazil in 1808, the city of Rio de Janeiro received a rich collection from the Royal Library of Portugal, with over 60,000 items. At first, all of the material was placed at the Hospital of the Third Order of Carmo.

But on October 29, 1810, the Portuguese royals founded the National Library, transferring the collection to a new location. A decree ordered that “in the catacombs of the Hospital of Carmo, the Royal Library is to be erected and accommodated, with physical and mathematical instruments, with the Royal Treasury undertaking the costs of all expenditures leading to the arrangement and maintenance of the aforementioned establishment.” This historical fact inspired the creation of “National Book Day.”

With the return of the royal family to Portugal, part of the collection also returned to its country of origin. Even so, with the passage of time and the acquisition of valuable collections, the National Library only grew. UNESCO considers the institution to be one of the world’s ten best national libraries and it is also the largest library in Latin America, currently holding around 10 million items.

More readers – the habit or reading in Brazil is growing slowly. In 2015, 50% of the population had read books within the last 12 months and in the last year, with this percentage rising to 56%, according to a study done by Ibope (Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics) at the request of Instituto Pró-Livro.

According to the survey, 67% of those interviewed stated that they were not encouraged by those near them to read more. Aware of the role reading plays in the development of kids and young people, International Paper Institute invests in initiatives to expand access to reading. The Book City project, for instance, has benefitted around 50,000 children over its seven years of action.

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