IT'S indeed my privilege to officially open the National Library Week. This event is always celebrated to acknowledge the hard work of librarians and library staff, and most importantly to advocate for the significance of libraries and roles they play.
We are fortunate to host the opening of this national event today and also to launch the one week roadshow program to celebrate National Library Week with the difference.
The National Library Week has been a permanent and important event in the education calendar of many schools around the country for almost three decades.
Each year the Department of Library Services of Fiji organises the National Library Week for schools and public libraries as an opportunity to encourage children to read more and also to promote reading among adults.
I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Ministry of Information, National Archives and Library Services of Fiji, municipal councils and other stakeholders for its dedication and commitment over the years in organising this annual week—long event and in their effort to entice our children to read books for pleasure, for information and for more serious pursuits.
This year's theme is "Reading Unlocks the Future". The message is a simple and an effective one for students and indeed for any age group. Reading opens the mind and broadens the knowledge to your future endeavour.
It is the pathway for moving forward and for getting ahead. This is as true for young people who are still in school today as it is for parents and workers who left school many years back. Reading remains the cheapest, the most popular and enriching leisure activity there is. Reading is not only the prerogative of schoolchildren, and its promotion should not be the responsibility of schools and teachers alone.
It is our collective responsibility to promote reading in this country and to support those organisations which are dedicated and committed to improving facilities for and provide access to reading materials.
In terms of national development, reading can be perceived as a self—help project that anyone can do irrespective of age, ethnicity, qualification and location. The more people who are able to read in our communities the more informed we can all become because information has a tendency to diffuse from person to person through the population.
And the cumulative effect of a reading public becomes a great national resource for any government. Reading plays a very important role in the development of our children very early in life and parents should continue to encourage them to read as early as possible.
Like other social values such as honesty, trust, love, peace, tolerance and non-violence, it becomes the responsibility of the parents also to instil good reading habits in their children. For in reading lies knowledge and in knowledge lies their future.
Message from the Commissioner Central Lieutenant Colonel Laisenia Tuitubou at Syria Park, Nausori.