EBLIDA response to the EU High Level Group on Literacy20 October 2011
ANNEX â€“ informal inputâ€gathering by the High Level Group on Literacy (HLG)
From the perspective of your organisation and/or society as a whole, which do you see as the mostÂ important issues that are relevant in the area of literacy?
Lack of literacy (in its many varieties) excludes people from participating in labour, in society, fromÂ developing themselves and from taking responsibilities for their own life decisions. Hence, lack ofÂ literacy relates to poverty, instead of literacy pointing to empowerment.
From the economic point of view: we cannot afford to waste human potential; from the legal pointÂ of view: we cannot exclude people from basic human rights. From an â€˜individualâ€™ issue (â€ if everÂ correct at all), literacy is now a societal issue. Stakeholders (government, business, and socialâ€culturalÂ services, such as libraries) are not meeting on a regular basis, as a coalition.
Literacy should be pursued focusing the attention on children and families.
Synergy between public libraries and school is fundamental. The joint work should be translated intoÂ strategies to raise awareness of families about the importance of reading, not only as a tool forÂ knowledge and growth, but also as a source of pleasure and fun. Families must be aware thatÂ knowing how to read easily helps children in their academic performances and also to achieve aÂ better quality of life. Teachers should be trained to work closely with librarians, to create continuity between school programs and the possibility of reaching further information and / or ramblings, asÂ the library offers.
Even the publishing industry is an important link in this synergy. Publishers should use the expertiseÂ of librarians and educators to provide appropriate advice to its publications. The families needÂ ongoing support that is gained by the coordination of all forces.
The Discussion document alludes to â€œ21st â€“century literacy skillsâ€ (p2) described as the ability notÂ just to read and write text but to use higher order problemâ€solving skills and an illustration is given ofÂ searching for information online. Librarians describe a set of these higher order skills as â€œinformationÂ Literacyâ€ and one definition of this is: â€œInformation literacy is knowing when and why you needÂ information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical mannerâ€.
We believe that these higher order skills are essential for individuals and communities to participateÂ and thrive in todayâ€™s information society. The Alexandria Proclamation sets out more fully the libraryÂ communityâ€™s aspirations and goals in this respect. It was sponsored by UNESCO and theÂ International Federation of Library Associations. More details.< back to overview