Pact for Reading and Writing in Gran Canaria: an island of books, a sea of cultures.

Since 2012, the city and the island have been backed by 49 public and private entities, all of which have made a commitment to join forces within the book sector, through the signing of the Pact for Reading and Writing in Gran Canaria.

An Advisory Council has arisen out of this agreement, as a collegiate, consultive and coordination authority (that fosters cooperation between the different signatories of the Pact), whose purpose is the ongoing analysis of the current situation regarding books, reading, writing, and the libraries in Gran Canaria.

This is all done through its Executive Committee, known as the Reading and Writing Observatory, whose aim is to respond to the sector’s current specific needs, with the basic objective of promoting Reading and Writing all over the islands.

For this, different Task Groups have been set up, as part of the Reading and Writing Observatory, whose members must put together action plans that meet the following general objectives of the Pact:

1.- Set up and develop proper actions and scenarios for promoting reading and writing in Gran Canaria, including training and leisure practices, providing access to information and the appropiation of a writing culture. In this way the region will undertake charitable, critical and participative actions within the local population, which will contribute to improving their quality of life.

2.- Stimulate and boost complicity and alliances with public and private information and communication systems; including the business sector, and within it, the tourist sector. All this with the aim of providing improvements in attitudes on the part of society, and putting forward actions in the media, with book, reading and writing promotions, with the aim of generating a profound social commitment that will have a knock on effect in society, which in turn will revert to the Pact itself.

3.- Facilitate access to libraries, books and reading to the highest possible number of residents in Gran Canaria by improving the functionality of public libraries on the island.

4.- Promote and boost collaboration between participating institutions for the divulging of Canarian bibliographic and documentational heritage, while respecting authors’ rights.

5.- Promote, boost and consolidate the development of libraries, paying special attention to school libraries, taking into account families and educational centres in the action plans envisaged to this end.

6.- Promote, boost and consolidate the development of the publishing industry in Gran Canaria, as well as book distribution networks, as one of the most efficient instruments to foster reading and economic and social activity.

7.- Foster the creation of written works, socially defending and protecting authors, and adapting their works to the latest information and communication technologies.

8.- Promote collaboration of the bookshop sector in order to improve the bookshop network in our community, as well as improving book distribution.

9.- Develop actions for information, monitoring and assessing reading, writing and book purchasing habits on the island, via the Reading and Writing Observatory, including statistical surveys, and always within the proposed aims of promoting Reading and Writing in Gran Canaria, as well as criteria for assessing the efficiency of the Pact itself.

To carry out these general objectives, public resources will be made available by the different administrations taking part in this initiative, along with patronage and sponsorship funds provided by private entities. The project will encourage the participation of Gran Canaria society at large, via its associations and organizations, to achieve a more cultured and better informed society, and to this end, a freer and fairer one.

Alongside this, the following specific objectives are to be established:

1.- Learn more about reading habits in order to be able to plan improved public policies for reading.

2.- Raise social awareness about the importance of reading.

3.- Promote, in collaboration with the corresponding entities, the accessibility and proper equipment of public and school libraries.

4.- Carry out and help with promotional activites for reading in different scenarios.

5.- Help socially excluded collectives (immigrants, the aged, disabled and prisoners) to gain access to books and reading, with the support of NGOs and other public and private initiatives.

6.- Comply with all actions set out by the Task Groups of the reading and writing Observatory in Gran Canaria, included in the following 5-year Plan:

Plan for the promotion of reading and writing in Gran Canaria 2015 – 2020.

Thanks to the reflections raised by the Task Groups, the Advisory Council approved a 5-year Plan (2015 – 2020) to encourage reading and writing, with the aim of positioning books, reading and writing at the heart of daily life of the Gran Canarian population, as a way to change their cultural habits and provide a solid base for their economic and social development.

The actions laid out and included in this Plan are based on the following Task Groups:

Task Group 1. Public libraries today: assessment of results and the drafting of a SWOT analysis.

1.- A programme of visits to public libraries in Gran Canaria to complete SWOT analysis.

2.- A study to establish a common procedure for inter-library lending. 3.- An update of the library map of Gran Canaria.

4.- A feasibility study for the introduction of a mobile library bus service on the island.

5.- Training and refresher courses for staff of public libraries in Gran Canaria.

Task Group 2. Public libraries and educational centres: collaboration plans to encourage reading and writing.

6.- Ratify the proposal and urgent need to pass the Canary Library Law.

7.- Ratify the continuation of the Pact for Reading and Writing in Gran Canaria. 8.- Boost collaboration and coordination of public libraries and educational centres on the island of Gran Canaria.

9.- Assign budgets on the part of appropriate administrations for the acquisition of sets of books in public libraries to attend to the demand of educational centres. These acquisitions should be coordinated by the participating public libraries.

10.- Promote a competition (2015-2016) for the dynamization of reading and writing projects. 11.- Promote and divulge programmes for the promotion of activities for reading and writing, and services offered by the different libraries in educational centres.

12.- Inform through the media of actions put forward by the work groups of the Reading and Writing Observatory in Gran Canaria.

13.- Coordinate and inform about actions taken by the different task groups to all members of the Pact.

14.- Join the movement against the payment of lending fees in public libraries.

Task group 3. Repercussion in the media: new action proposals for the promotion and dissemination of reading and writing in the media.

15.- Raise awareness and promote greater presence of the libraries of Gran Canaria in the media, as well as contribute to the dissemination of the initiatives put forward by the libraries. 16.- Organize visits of groups of library users to the editorial department and printing press at newspaper offices.

17.- Programme meetings for groups of library users with newspaper representatives to comment on current events, and so that each party can learn about each other’s viewpoints concerning these events.

18.- Promote the participation of newspaper representatives in activities organized by libraries.

19.- Programme activities promoted by libraries in the Club La Provincia (presentations, exhibitions, etc.).

20.- Open up newspaper communication channels with towns and districts around Gran Canaria, through local libraries.

21.- Fix special prices for newspapers bought by libraries, both in printed and digital format. 22.- Insert in the cultural supplement of La Provincia a section dedicated to the Pact for Reading and Writing in Gran Canaria.

23.- Broadcast all library news, activities and projects via digital daily newspapers.

24.- Programme meetings with authors in the media.

25.-Put together literary programmes with recommended reading lists for libraries, selected by theme and current events, new literary publications and by a ranking of most popularly read books in libraries, so as to have a presence in the digital press.

26.- Programming of visits of librarians and information and reading/writing professionals to TVE Spanish Television offices in the Canaries.

27.- Draw up a collaboration agreement between TVE in the Canaries and the Cabildo de Gran Canaria for the broadcasting of short films of the Libraries in a Minute competition and recorded stories for Story Days.

28.- Inclusion of a five minute section on Radio 5, to be broadcast nationally, dedicated to the Pact for Reading and Writing in Gran Canaria, using public radio facilities and technical staff.

Task Group 4. The publishing world in Gran Canaria and the commercialization of books. Promotion of reading and writing through public and private cultural entities.

29.- Ongoing updating of the census regarding the commercialization of books: publishers, distributors and bookshops.

30.- Promote the publishing and the e-commerce of Canarian authors. 31.- Promote bookshops as cultural centres.

32.- Support and promotion of book fairs to be set up in Gran Canaria.

33.- Control and coordination between public and private publications by establishing the appropriate means of collaboration and powers.

Task Group 5. Creative development in Gran Canaria: literature for adults and children. Proposals for the dissemination and stimulation for literary creation.

34.- Stimulate creative thinking through the practice of writing and illustration, through the setting up of the two-yearly International Album Competition.

35.- Promote creative development via the Children’s Narrative Competitionwhich shall be implemented through the present Plan, and shall be carried out on a two-yearly basis.

36.- Encourage creative development and promote the training of upcoming authors in Gran Canaria, under the category of competitions/workshops, with special attention paid to post-training of participants in these events, through the holding of training workshops. The following competitions/workshops are to be proposed on a two-yearly basis: comics, making short films (Libraries in a Minute), short narrative and poetry.

37.- Setting up the yearly Fight for Books activity.

Task Group 6. The promotion of reading and writing aimed at collectives with special difficulties and people who are at risk of exclusion.

38.- Work on the strategic Easy Reader project. Put together a survey for public libraries on the island focusing on technical funding and aid to be spent on people with visual or hearing impairment.

39.- Organize a training workshop on Easy Readers with the aim of explaining basic steps to convert a conventional text into this system. Take this proposal to Las Palmas ULPGC University to introduce this subject into their study plans.

40.- Transcribe homegrown works in Gran Canaria into Braille.

41.- Prepare training sessions with the support of oral narrators, focusing on basic steps on how to narrate stories taking into account people with visual and cognitive disability.

Task Group 7. Intangible Heritage: new projects to enhance our cultural tradition.

42.- The creation of a repository of intangible heritage in Gran Canaria.

43.- School presentations on intangible heritage.

44.- School competitions for the island on intangible heritage.

Task Group 8. Specialist and university libraries, and museums.

45.- Identify Canary collections outside the island.

46.- Identify funds for the house museums of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria other than from those who started up these house museums, and identify funds for specialist and university libraries.

47.- Geolocalize and discover each documental fund via a descriptive file. Produce a map with all the geolocalizations and descriptions for its webhosting at

48.- Start up a project on Memory and orality: island round table debates.

49.- Integrate the Festival of Atlantic Poetry from the Canaries to the World, organized by the Canary Centre for Caribbean Studies.

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