Knowledge is power

Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for the right of every child to receive an education. When the Islamic Taliban movement took control of the valley in 2008, girls’ schools were burned down. Malala kept a diary of the events, which was published in 2009 by BBC Urdu. In 2012, Malala was shot in the head on a school bus by a Taliban gunman and survived Picture: REUTERS/ Suzanne Plunkett

Knowledge is a totality of ideas, facts, information, skills, and experience conserved by human minds.

The phrase ‘knowledge is power’ is often attributed to Francis Bacon, published in his book ‘Meditationes Sacrae and Human Philosophy’ in 1597.

The action of this power precisely voiced as ‘Our books and Pens are the most powerful weapons’ by Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate and female education activist from Pakistan.

This power of pen empowers intellectuals to enclose their treasures of tacit or intangible knowledge as thoughts, opinions, imaginations, etc., in the form of explicit or tangible knowledge assets in books.

The symbolic date April 23 (World Book and Copyright Day) in world literature was considered by UNESCO’s general conference in Paris in 1995 to pay honour to books and authors and encourage one and all to access books.

The primary purpose of this day is to promote reading, publishing, and protect the intellectual’s property through copyright.

UNESCO also encourages those involved in writing and producing knowledge in the form of books and supports literacy because books play an inspiring role in wiping out poverty and building peace.

On this auspicious day, director-general of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, emphasised the use of books as ‘The power of books must be fully harnessed.

We must ensure their access so that everyone can take refuge in reading, and by doing so, be able to dream, learn and reflect’.

UNESCO and three major sectors as publishers, booksellers, and libraries named Tbilisi (Georgia) to be World Book Capital in 2021 and themed ‘To share a story’ considering pandemic, for a year.

Before this COVID-19 pandemic, the World Book and Copyright Day used to celebrate in an astonishing way like book exhibitions, conferences, seminars, distribution of awards to book lovers, question and answer sessions regarding famous books and authors, libraries visitations/tours, and world great libraries photographs display.

On April 23, 2021, the great event had been celebrated worldwide virtually like webinars, online tours, online exhibitions, etc., by the various stakeholders such as authors, publishers, booksellers, libraries, teachers, public and private institutions, associations, and NGOs, because of the COVID-19 calamity.

During this pandemic, the books, as good friend, reminded their importance for relief and escapism. The value of books and libraries will remain the same, but their format or mode of survival might be changed over time.

S.R. Ranganathan stressed the promotion of books reading in his five laws of library and information science published in 1931 as first law ‘books are for use of all’ meant for reading not for storing only.

The second law ‘every reader his/her book’ highlighted the readers taste regarding books choosing and reading should be respected.

The third law, ‘every book its reader,’ stated that every book has a proper place and less reader to read.

Similarly, the fourth law, ‘save the time of the reader’, depicted that all readers should easily access the desired book. Also, the fifth law, ‘library is a growing organism’, illustrated updating the books collection.

Moreover, libraries respected authors by developing their separate collection and organising their online live lecture for a large audience using the latest technology and video conferencing facilities such as zoom, Webex meets, GoToWebinar, Google meet, GoToMeeting, BlueJeans, etc.

Thus, the libraries conserve and market the intellectuals’ assets in the form of books and other reading materials to create new knowledge assets and advocacy in protecting their rights by applying fair use or dealing of copyright law.

As a result, libraries all over the world adopted fair dealing usage by allowing to copy an article from a journal issue or up to 10 per cent of a book or chapter for research and private study. It is possible to make only one copy, which cannot be duplicated.

On the other hand, libraries have access to e-resources in accordance with licence agreements with publishers and third-party vendors, and the reading materials they provide are protected by copyright laws.

Licence agreements from publishers and third-party vendors specifi cally establish the limitations for downloading and printing materials from any e-journal issue or e-book.

Given the situation in which the whole world is battling with the COVID-19 apocalypse, it is imperative to recognise the value of reading, encourage people development as readers, and promote a lifelong enjoyment of literature.

Indeed, knowledge never goes to waste and provides information, binds people together through shared experiences and unique backgrounds, and builds appreciation for those who contributed irreplaceably to social and cultural change.

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