The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) in conjunction with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and UNISA’s Information Services Department will be hosting the Reading Summit from 24 to 26 March 2021.

The Reading Summit will respond to national reading initiatives as well as the National Reading Survey that was commissioned by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture through the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) published in 2017. The survey found that a lot more needs to be done if we are to achieve significant literacy levels.

The Reading Summit will assess the role of literacy in the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030 and to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as well as to improve literacy in Africa.

It will also be important to assess the impact of the reading initiatives.

Literacy, besides being a fundamental human right, is a foundation for achieving education for all and more broadly, for achieving the overarching goal of reducing human poverty.

It is upon this backdrop that the Reading Summit aims to create awareness of, and co-ordinate, the efforts of all role players, who are advancing reading in South Africa.


The main theme of the Reading Summit is Strengthening the reading ecosystem with the following sub-themes:

  • Impact of reading initiatives; what has been their reach and effect in advancing a culture of reading
  • Reading interests of specific groups, (e.g. Youth, children, and other groups)
  • Impact of book clubs on inculcating a culture of reading. How do we nurture and sustain them?
  • Barriers to reading in all their manifestations (e.g. Lack of relevant content and reading spaces)
  • Best practices in driving reading programmes. What models exist in the continent and globally that can be emulated to give momentum to the programmes.
  • The impact of International and National Reading Campaigns in promoting the culture reading in South Africa (e.g. World Book Day, S.A Library Week, and International Literacy Day)
  • Research initiatives on reading at ‘South African Universities
  • Sustainability of reading programmes
  • The role of reading in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Reading for people with disabilities

Objectives of the Reading Summit

  • To explore issues and insights on reading practices in South Africa, on the African continent and globally.
  • To provide a platform for exchange of experiences and dialogue on Book clubs as a means of promoting reading in our communities.
  • To identify and analyse opportunities and challenges of reading initiatives.
  • To showcase effective reading programmes of specific age groups.
  • To draw lessons from best practice models in driving reading programmes.
  • To strengthen reading programmes and initiatives in collaboration with Government and the various stakeholders including educators NGOs, publishers and institutions of higher education.