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Tagged: argue a point of view, reading and literacy, Week 5
- This topic has 0 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 7 years, 6 months ago by Louise Belshaw.
September 8, 2015 at 12:16 pm #1693Louise BelshawParticipant
Libraries are hubs of information and recently have become important organisations in a community where citizens can connect digitally if they don’t have access otherwise. But in doing so are libraries falling into the trap of becoming technology hubs and foregoing a commitment to the basics of literacy and information for all?
The changing employment environment means that employees are having to retrain for jobs that never existed many years ago. Further, older employees who are having to go back out and look for work are at a disadvantage when it comes to being competent in the new skill set needed. As the Sydney Morning Herald reported “The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported recently that more than two-fifths (7.3 million) of Australians aged 15 to 74 have literacy skills below the level needed to function in today’s society. With limited literacy, people cannot read contracts or fill out forms and are easy to exploit. Employment opportunities are limited, especially for older people whose literacy levels tend to be lower, according to studies.”.
While it is common to see libraries promote activities such as how to use an iPad it still falls short of making literacy a core component of the organisation. What is the point of having a library full of books and computers wired to the net when the majority of a libraries users don’t have the literacy skills to use them and better still get the information they need?
The State Library of Queensland have devised their own literacy framework to try to combat this problem through their library and through other Queensland public libraries. They say “Public libraries are transformative places and literacy is the bedrock of their ethos and rationale. With a focus on engagement, discovery, reading and belonging, libraries offer specialised workforce, infrastructure, programs and collections to aid literacy support in communities”.
The Australian Library and Information Association have also made information literacy at the heart of what librarians and libraries should be focusing on in their Statement on information literacy for all Australia where they state that “therefore, as a matter of priority, and at all levels, library and information services professionals embrace a responsibility to promote and facilitate the development of the information literacy of their clients. They will support government, and the corporate community, professional, educational and trade union sectors, and all Australians”.
Literacy development is most certainly the concern of public libraries and should be made more of a priority. Libraries are becoming a much more multipurpose organisation and as “Jack Goodman, the CEO of Tutoring Australasia wrote in 2009, public libraries have moved on from being seen only as repositories of information, to also being ‘about sharing information and opening opportunities for learning, community engagement and social capital building’”.
- This topic was modified 7 years, 6 months ago by Louise Belshaw.
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