Warm the Whole City with the Sound of Reading: Nanjing “Readers” Meet Again by the Xuanwu Lake

Source: Purple Mountain News

Pictures & Article by Jieyu Wang

September 26, 2020, by the Xuanwu Lake we hear again the beautiful sound of reading. The sixth session of the monthly “Read on The Lake” meeting was held in Liangzhou Square. Around 100 people gathered there, among them are representatives of various reading groups, including group for the visual impaired and group for readers of disabilities.

This session is jointly organized by Reading Promotion Association of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing Reading Promotion Office, Nanjing Literature Center, with support from partners listed below: Foundation of Jiangsu Reading, Reading Promotion Association of Nanjing, Nanjing Federation of People with Disabilities, Nanjing Publishing Group, Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Education, Administration Office of Xuanwu Lake Park.

October 31 of this year marks the one-year anniversary of Nanjing’s designation as UNESCO City of Literature. Moreover, to observe the White Cane Safety Day on October 15, this party integrates groups of volunteers from multiple grassroots “Readers” reading organizations such as Beauty of Books Readers Reading Club, Jinling Library Readers Reading Club, Nanjing Yueju Group Readers Reading Club, Nanjing Publishing Group Jinling Readers League. Together they present a reading feast themed “The City of Reading”. The program includes reading, traditional art shows like Yueju, Baiju, and performances from blind readers and “little citizens” reading group.

Huijiao Chen and Hongting Ye, both from Nanjing School for the Blind, read a modern poem Nanjing! Nanjing! My Nanjing! written by Huijiao Chen in which she expressed her affection to her hometown. Huijiao turned blind when she was a little girl, she kept her passion for braille reading and writing. One of her poems won her the first prize in China’s First National Poetry and Prose Reading Competition for the Blind. Hongting Ye, who’s two years younger than Huijiao, is as well talented in reading and took part in the National Reading Competition for the Blind. “Little new citizens” readers group consists of members aging between 6 and 12 that mainly come to Nanjing from elsewhere of China. Together with the members from Jinling Parent-Child Reading Club, they read the poem Great Love in the World.

In Nanjing, there are plenty of grassroots public-minded reading groups who are simultaneously doing the same thing: organizing reading activities for visual impaired and people with disabilities, aged people, children and all groups of reading lovers. They have warmed the whole city with their voices in reading and they have a common name – “Readers”.

“Readers” Program in Nanjing has been running four initiatives that are demonstrative throughout China: registered brand marks for charitable activities “Readers” and “Theatre for the Blind”; established reading clubs for the visual impaired and the disabled in all districts of Nanjing; built up audio reading base for the visual impaired; published braille version of Nanjing Publishing Group’s book That Book and Me and promoted countrywise. The cultural influence and guiding power of City of Literature is deepened at the grassroots level, enabling citizens to feel the charms of our city of Nanjing and the joy of reading.

During the event, sponsors issued Readership of Excellence awards to 12 readers with disabilities, sending books to “little new citizens” as gift. The Reading Foundation of Jiangsu Province bought in 1,000 sets of audio reading material and distributed for free to visual impaired readers and members of Nanjing Federation of Persons of Disabilities. The first released braille version of book That Book and Me, compiled by Mr. Guangya Chen and published by Nanjing Publishing Group, is given to Nanjing Library Braille Reading Room and the first braille library in Jiangsu – Jiangsu Shuyang County Braille Library, for collection.

Moreover, a few experts were appointed to the advisory board of the Readers Volunteer Service, including TV anchorman Xiaoping Wu, programme specialist Qun Dong, publishing specialist Haiming Lu, library specialist Jianye Xu. They will devote their efforts in promoting reading among citizens of Jiangsu.

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