The two-day Book and Reading Culture Festival 2012 has drawn in a large number of book worms and lovers to Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam (the Temple of Literature), which is Vietnam’s first university, in Hanoi since its opening on April 21.

The annual event that honours the reading culture of Vietnamese people is also part of activities to mark the World Book and Copyright Day (April 23).

Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai said the event, which was held simultaneously in various localities and universities, looks to encourage young people, students and teenagers, to develop a habit of reading as part of traditional fondness for learning.

Reading is indispensable in the evolvement of humankind in general and a nation in particular, including Vietnam and the love for books will nurture good character in each person, Ai said.

Themed “Book - Knowledge - the Root of Success”, this year’s festival was designed to have various activities, such as an exhibition of Vietnam’s ancient books, painting contest and writing contest for children, book donation to develop new urban bookshelves, and lectures on reading culture and skills.

Nguyen Trong Phuong from the Vietnam National Library, a member of the organising board, called for the donation of books to people in remote and difficult areas, especially soldiers in border areas and islands.

In 1995, UNESCO decided to observe April 23 as the World Book and Copyright Day, to honour the values that books bring about to humanity and encourage people, especially young ones, to read books.-VNA