Libraries and literacy: Using libraries to support national literacy efforts
Used strategically, libraries have the potential to play a key role in promoting national literacy efforts, as they are trusted by people in the communities they serve and are in a good position to provide a wide variety of literacy opportunities. Libraries provide literacy resources for children, youth and adults at all proficiency levels, thereby making an enormous contribution to supporting a reading culture and the creation of a literate society. They are also an ideal community space for facilitating intergenerational and family learning.
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) believes in and advocates for learning both in- and outside of formal education settings. It works with formal, non-formal and informal centres of learning, including libraries. The Institute has now released a policy brief entitled Using Libraries to Support National Literacy Efforts, which examines the role of libraries in supporting lifelong literacy. The policy brief looks at how libraries nurture early literacy skills up to advanced levels of literacy proficiency, and the need for libraries to be involved in policy dialogue connected to literacy. The publication goes further to highlight the fact that libraries at every level, local and national, should be well-resourced to serve their surrounding communities and users in order to create a successful learning environment.
Harnessing the potential power of libraries by integrating their activities with national literacy efforts and strategies at local, regional and national levels will help countries achieve the literacy targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.