Scotland has launched the first ever Book Week to encourage people of all ages to embark or continue on a reading journey, a government press release said on Tuesday.
Book Week Scotland, a government initiative from Nov. 26 until Dec. 2, is being held on behalf of Creative Scotland by Scottish Book Trust, the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland.
More than 350 free events are being held throughout the country, several led by some of Scotland's best-loved authors including Iain Banks and Val McDermid, it added.
Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, said the event aims to encourage people to embrace reading's unique capacity for personal enrichment, education, solace, pleasure and growth.
"The week is an opportunity, during the Year of Creative Scotland, to celebrate our exceptional literary talent, our history of literary excellence and our rich culture," she added.
Every Primary 1 schoolchild in Scotland will receive a free pack of three picture books and a specially commissioned book "My Favourite Place".
A total of 150,000 copies of the book, which is a collection of stories and poems written by Scottish people, will be distributed widely at train stations, ferries, stores and many other spots, according to the government.
Moreover, there will be a national Reading Hour from 11 a.m. local time (GMT 1100) until midday on St Andrew's Day of Nov. 30 when people are encouraged to go to the library to show their support for reading.
A flagship Reading Hour event will be held at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, incorporating activities for all ages led by leading Scottish authors.
On Dec. 1, there will be a pop-up festival at The Mitchell Library in Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, featuring a packed program of events for all ages throughout the day.
The League of Extraordinary Book Lovers, a group of volunteer enthusiasts aged from five to 75, will appear on street corners handing out book recommendations during the book week.
Marc Lambert, chief executive officer of Scottish Book Trust, said, "The spirit of Book Week Scotland is about celebrating reading, and the real power reading has to change lives."
At Scottish Poetry Library near the center of capital city, Frank Howell, 65, told Xinhua on Tuesday that he enjoys reading and usually spends more time on reading during winter days when it's getting dark earlier.
He added that young people like his niece and nephew usually read less because they have their work and kids to take care of, which makes them mostly occupied.
Talking about e-reading, Howell insisted that he prefers book reading and likes the feeling with a book at hand.
For his part, Colin Waters, communications manager of Scottish Poetry Library, hailed Book Week Scotland for encouraging people to read and enjoy the wealth of literature, especially the poetry, which appears earlier than books and will last for a long time. He also noted that Oct. 4 is the National Poetry Day in Scotland.
The full program of Book Week Scotland was unveiled at the National Library of Scotland in late October to encourage as many people as possible to read, share and celebrate the enjoyment of getting lost in a book, new or old.