Introducing Free Reading Zones to Brazilian librarians and publishers

NSR’s Mirela Roncevic, who launched the Free to Read initiative in 2016 and orchestrated the world’s first attempt to turn an entire country into a Free Reading Zone, will speak at the 10th International Seminar of Public and Community Libraries in Sao Paolo this coming October, with the goal of encouraging and inspiring librarians across Brazil to implement Free Reading Zones (in cooperation with publishers, technology companies, and private and government sponsors).

Since turning Croatia into a Free Reading Zone in December 2016 (read more about this No Shelf Required pilot here), Roncevic has been speaking publicly at a number of conferences about Free Reading Zones and the project’s potential to transform how books and knowledge are accessed inside and outside libraries and institutions. The goal and mission of the project is to celebrate the potential of digital books (and digital content in general) to equalize access to knowledge (in ways not seen before) and afford new opportunities for all in the book ecosystem, including librarians, publishers, educators, and readers.

The Biblioteca Viva seminar will take place between the 23rd and the 25th of October, the same month Roncevic’s lengthy report on Free Reading Zones will be published by the American Library Association. In the four-chapter report, titled, Free Reading Zones: Transforming Access to Books Through Technology, Roncevic explains in detail the project’s short-term and long-term goals, its vision and mission, and its potential to transform both publishing and libraries, while creating new and improved conditions for enabling reading and spreading literacy beyond institutions and affluent urban areas.

The last two chapters of the ALA tech report focus exclusively on turning the country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone, which was sponsored by No Shelf Required and managed by Roncevic, in cooperation with a small team of colleagues in the United States, Israel, and Croatia. The Free Reading Zones project in Croatia will be the main focus on the lecture for the seminar attendees in Sao Paolo.

In the introductory video, soon to be featured on the seminar’s main site, Roncevic lays a foundation for her upcoming 20-minute lecture on Free Reading Zones, to be given in English and translated into Portuguese.

Roncevic previously authored a library technology report on ebook platforms and services for libraries, also for ALA, co-edited a journal on econtent, and spearheaded the editorial direction of a wide range of books, journals, and series. She consults libraries, publishers, and library vendors on all things ebooks and open virtual libraries, teaches classes on ebooks and digital content, and is currently working on a book on the future of digital reading, libraries, and publishing.

Listen to the Leapub audio interview with Roncevic about Free Reading Zones and the future of libraries here.

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