In today’s age, when technology is becoming more prevalent and life is becoming more virtualised, curiosity about reading among the youth and young adults is decreasing. However, the Slovenian Olympic Academy recognises the problem and the great potential that reading has.
Consequently, the Slovenian NOA recently launched their #športajmoinberimo programme to encourage reading among young athletes . It seeks to show young athletes the value of reading and education, and how they also positively influence their athletic careers. For this, Olympians are invited to the main libraries and share their experiences and opinions on how reading and education have helped them in sport and after their athletic career.
Two significant documents adopted by the Slovenian government provide the theoretical basis for the programme. One is the National Strategy for the Development of Reading Literacy 2019 – 2030 and the other is Recommendations and Standards for Public Libraries from 2018. The practical basis for the programme design is the multi-year collaboration between the Maribor Ice Hockey Club and the Maribor Library in the award-winning Hockey Reading Posture programme to introduce innovative services for users.
The programme is a collaboration of many different institutions, namely the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, the National Education Institute of Slovenia, the Reading Promotion Centre of the Maribor City Library, the Slovenian Book Agency and ultimately the Slovenian Olympic Academy. Such cooperation at a political level enables successful implementation of the programme and demonstrates the relevance of encouraging reading.
The target group consists of young people aged 15 to 19 who engage in sports or sporting activities in their free time frequently. According to statistical data, this target group makes up more than half of Slovenia and a large part of Europe. About half of all young people exercise at least once a week, but almost all of them use the internet and social media.
The programme is an encouraging platform to raise awareness about the relevance of reading as a counterbalance to social media consumption and the value of reading in sports as well.