By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijan National Library has hosted a conference to highlight the role of books and reading in the intellectual development of society.
The event conference was timed to the World Book and Copyright Day aimed at promoting the enjoyment of books and reading.
Each year, on 23 April, celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the scope of books. On this occasion, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry - publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a year to maintain, through its own initiatives, the impetus of the Day's celebrations.
Opening the conference, director of the National Library Karim Tahirov stressed the special attention of the national leader Heydar Aliyev to Azerbaijan's cultural heritage.
Between 1995 and1997, Heydar Aliyev visited the National Library and donated about 300 books from his personal library. At present, these books are located in the library's corner dedicated to the national leader.
Speaking at the conference, First Deputy Minister of Culture Vagif Aliyev congratulated all book lovers on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, celebrated annually on April 23.
First Deputy Minister of Culture said that the book is a source of knowledge and a means of transmitting it from generation to generation. In this regard, the Ministry of Culture attaches special importance to the protection of copyright and publishing activities.
He emphasized the importance of relevant decrees on books and libraries, publishing houses ordered by Heydar Aliyev.
A rich legislative base in the field of book publishing and copyright was created under the leadership of national leader.
Adoption of the laws "On Copyright and Related Rights" (1996), "On Library Affairs" (1998), "On Publishing" (2000) and "On Protection of the Rights of Azerbaijani Folklore Expressions" (2003) has had a positive impact on the development of this field.
Moreover, the approval of the Azerbaijan's State Programme for development of library-information sphere in 2008-2013 by the President Ilham Aliyev, the order "On the use of the Azerbaijani language in Latin script in mass publications" as well as the decree "On ensuring the activities of the Azerbaijan Copyright" dated also contributed to the book publishing and copyright.
Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry, Secretary General of Azerbaijan's National Commission for UNESCO Elnur Sultanov noted that UNESCO holds numerous events every year on the occasion of this significant day. He stressed the importance of encouraging young people to read more books.
Director of the Baku Book Center Gunel Anargizi spoke on the role of the Center in promoting books and reading in the country. She pointed out on work done by the Baku Book Center aimed at increasing interest in reading.
Furthermore, secretary of the Azerbaijan Writers' Union Rashad Majid, director of the Central Scientific Library, professor Mammad Aliyev, dean of Library Science and Information Faculty at Baku State University, associate professor Alamdar Jabbarly and Director of the "Education" publishing house Tural Akhundov addressed the event.
At the end, the guests viewed the exhibition timed to World Book and Copyright Day.
Nowadays, libraries and publishing houses in Azerbaijan are of great importance. There are also over 150 publishing houses that are engaged in printing.
The Mirza Fatali Akhundov National Library of Azerbaijan is a central state library of Azerbaijan. Its facades feature the statues of various writers and poets: Nizami Ganjavi, Mahsati, Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Shota Rustaveli, Alexander Pushkin and several others.
Founded in 1922, the library stores different books, printed materials, newspapers and records. The rare books, as well as the books about Azerbaijan covering the period until 1920 are kept in the rare book and library museum.
The country is also home to the Museum of Miniature Books. Located within the oldest part of Baku city - Icherisheher, the museum is included in the Guinness Book of Records as the museum with the largest number of miniature books.
The museum opened its doors in 2002 and owns one of the world's great collections of miniature books.
The creator of the museum, Zarifa Salakhova has made a unique contribution to the world of small books.
The main objective for the establishment of the Museum was to revive love for books among the youth.
One of the world’s first miniature books museums is home to over 6,500 books published in 71 countries.
The collection contains "Flower Alphabet", "Pictures of English History", Pushkin’s "Yevgeni Onegin", "La Fontaine Fables" and the 24-volume "One Thousand and One Nights" a seminal work in Arabic literature.
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