By Sally Burdon
As one of the organisers of ILAB’s world of Pop Up rare book events on April 23 I find I spend quite a lot of time caught up in organising printing, answering questions of the inspiring ILAB affiliates worldwide who are the local organisers, writing material and also being a local organiser myself. It is difficult to keep clear focus on the true priorities of the day at times.
However one priority that keeps playing on my mind of late is raising enough money on April 23 to really make some significant difference to literacy in South Sudan. The Forest Whitaker Initiative for Peace and Development is the UNESCO backed program that booksellers around the world are working to raise money for. Of course I realised that if UNESCO said this programme was important and Forest Whitaker was their ambassador in South Sudan, it must be doing good but then I saw the video… This video says very clearly that literacy is at the root of justice and world peace and it really came home to me. Our work raising money for literacy was not just to change the life of a child or even a family but potentially a whole nation and beyond! I had to do my very, very best to make sure ILAB’s donations are greater this year than the laudable 10,000 Euros we raised in 2015.
My local gym, Curves Belconnen, in a local suburban shopping centre seemed particularly unexpected! They often run charity fundraisers but what would they make of ILAB and the Empty Bookcase poster? I talked to the owner Anita and asked her what she thought about it and she was very interested and keen. Two days ago the poster was attached to their wall, with some explanatory text about both ILAB and the Forest Whitaker Initiative for Peace and Development. Within minutes symbolic spines had been bought by the women who attend the gym, were attached to the Empty Bookcase and within just 2 days several hundred dollars has been raised. The enthusiasm of Anita and her staff is humbling. I have been very moved and impressed. People are asking questions about South Sudan of course but also asking about the antiquarian bookselling world. Sometimes taking the unexpected to new places has unexpectedly good results for all concerned! Maybe there is somewhere near you that is very unexpected too!
JOIN US ... ORGANIZE IT ... ILAB POP UP BOOK FAIRS ... ACROSS THE WORLD ... ON UNESCO WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT DAY ... 23 APRIL 2016!
April 2016 – For immediate release. Pictures: ILAB, UNESCO, the Organizers, Curves Belconnen