On May 30th, 60 Books for the Summer, a curated list of MEP Library Lovers’ book recommendations for the summer, was launched in Strasbourg.
A debate on literature bridging borders and what libraries do today for social change followed the intimate and touching keynote by award-winning author Patrick McGuinness (whose book Other People’s Countries: A Journey Into Memory was selected for the 2017 edition of 60 Books for the Summer).
60 Books for the Summer is an initiative of the MEP Library Lovers Group to promote reading and literacy and showcase the work of authors from different national and linguistic backgrounds, mirroring European’s multilingualism and diversity. Reading books from other countries opens our minds and makes us understand more about other cultures. This is why translation is so important, as Alexandra Buchler from Literature Across Frontiers pointed out in her intervention.
This year’s list is – if possible — even more diverse than last year’s, and is composed of a balanced mix of fiction (66%) and non-fiction books (44%). 40 MEPs contributed to the list with their absolute favourite reads. These books reflect the love that MEPs – and MEP Library Lovers in particular — share for European culture and cultural diversity, their commitment to social inclusion, and passion for history and literature. The list is as diverse as Europe itself and offers inspiration to even the most erudite and up-to-date reader.
More and more, public libraries across Europe propose a selection of books and services in at least one other language, in doing so promoting reading in a foreign language and literary translation, as well as social integration.
The public library is undoubtedly the cultural institution with which most representatives of ethnic minorities are in touch. Libraries have catered for immigrants and refugees through special services, such as educational services, that foster the integration process and build stronger communities. ”Public libraries have an important role to play when it comes to social issues; they are among the best placed institutions to do so”, underlined Jeremy Lachal, Director of Bibliothèques Sans Frontières.