This exhibition presents ideas for architectural and design solutions to promote and encourage reading in public spaces. Students and graduates of the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana contributed the ideas. They took part in an open competition aimed at stimulating reflection on elements in public spaces that should entice reading – individually, collectively, silently or aloud, and above all, all people. A soft cushion, a comfortable armchair, a lounger in the shade or a comfortable park bench, with a book, a magazine, headphones or a tablet, a sign on the wall, etc. What entices us to read? When do we enjoy reading? The young architects presented five different solutions that speak to the fact that people have different reading habits and reading-related needs.

Reading – an important skill in the European Year of Skills

The EYS is dedicated to reading skills, among other things. But skills are not the only things people need in order to read. As experts explain, it is better to talk about reading behaviour, which is influenced by a range of internal and external factors.

We talked to experts in the field of reading, as well as young exhibitors, their architecture teachers, a director of radio plays and audiobooks, a reading mentor and a reading influencer. These interviews have been compiled into a video (in Slovenian) that accompanies the exhibition and can be viewed on the website

In the school environment, we often think about so-called good and weak readers. We also talk about demanding, picky, serious, occasional readers. Less often, we discuss their satisfaction: those who enjoy reading and those who avoid it. Those who know they are good readers and others who say they are not or that they do not enjoy reading. With this exhibition, we want to encourage people to reflect on their own reading and to become aware of those aspects that they feel as pleasure, peace and joy. To achieve this goal, we have prepared an entertaining quiz (in Slovenian) that answers the question of which type of reader predominates in an individual’s reading behaviour. The five animals from the native forests symbolise the five types of readers with their characteristic behaviour. However, we should also bear in mind that one owl differs from another, one hamster differs from another, and the same applies to magpies, bears and squirrels, but at the same time, they are also similar in many ways, whatever their species. The same applies to readers.

‘Man passes there through forests of symbols’, says Baudelaire in one of his poems. How many sentences do we read every day without even realising it? How many are there that move us, that we think about, that we talk about? Do we think about the fact that reading is actually an activity that enriches us and binds us together in community?

At the SIAE, we read together

By setting an example, we can most effectively encourage others to read. And not just any reading but primarily in-depth reading of longer texts, which is the basis for critical and analytical thinking. As highlighted in the Ljubljana Manifesto on Deep Reading, this is the only way we can comprehend complex issues and solve intricate problems that the modern world grapples with.

That is precisely why we decided to encourage shared reading among the employees at the SIAE in the first place and thus actively participate in the National Month of Joint Reading 2023.

Within our institution’s premises, we have designated a unique space for socialising over books and reading. Employees have brought in books to facilitate the sharing of engaging material among colleagues. Once an individual finishes reading a book, they return it and make it available for others.

Among our colleagues, there are quite a few enthusiastic readers who enjoy discussing books and reading. Hence, we have established our own book club, inviting all employees to join. At the first meeting, we explored the travelling exhibition and the film Images of Reading. We discussed the book. The author, Tina Vrščaj, visited the group and answered participants’ questions.

She proved to be a lively storyteller and insightful observer of the world, capable of delving beneath the surface. She fascinated us with her creative process and showed us how to keep an upright posture, have an open heart, and follow our dreams and values in complicated times. I think I can say on behalf of everyone that we could listen to her for hours.

From my own experience as a reading group leader, I can say that over time, reading group members come to realise that this environment is safe, confidential and inclusive. As a result, they dare to share their opinions more openly and honestly. They find it easier to embrace different perspectives, which can further connect them and facilitate collaboration. Through the reading group, each member grows as a reader, but they achieve an even more significant potential in collaboration.

Alenka Štrukelj


Natalija Žalec, MAEd (UK) (, SIAE, and Alenka Štrukelj (, Literary Pharmacy

© 2017-2024 Slovenian Institute for Adult Education

​The publication is co-financed by the Ministry of Education.

ISSN 2630-2926

Slovenian Institute for Adult Education
Ministry of Education

Published by Slovenian Institute for Adult Education (SIAE), Šmartinska 134a, SI-1000 Ljubljana | Editor-in-chief: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc (E: | Editor: Ana Peklenik (E: | Other members of the editorial board: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, dr Nataša Potočnik, Directress of SIAE, dr Tanja Možina, Tanja Vilič Klenovšek, MSc and dr Tanja Rupnik Vec | Computer solution: Franci Lajovic (T: 01 5842 555, E: | Translation/proofreading: Mesto znanja, izobraževanje in svetovanje za osebno rast, Petra Cvek, s. p.  | Design: Larisa Hercog | Corrective reading: Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MSc, and Mateja Pečar | W: