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Welcome from the Section Officers

IFLA 1998 - Amsterdam - Section on Reading Meetings

Agenda Section on Reading Standing Committee Meeting I

Global Issues are the Focus of the 1998 American Library Association (ALA) Conference

Conference on "Libraries, Reading, and Publishing in the Cold War" Held in Paris

UNESCO "Reading for all" Program Launched

"Books for All" Project Marks its 25th Anniversary

Conference on "National Libraries of the World" Announced for 23-27 October, 2000

Proceedings Published for the 1996 Conference on "Libraries and Reading in Times of Cultural Change"

IFLA Section on Reading Officers

Join the IFLA Section on Reading

Newsletter of the Section on Reading

No. 6 - July, 1998

Welcome from the Section Officers

IFLA established its Section on Reading in 1997 to replace the Round Table on Research on Reading. The new Section's purpose and immediate goals incorporate but also extend beyond those of the former Round Table. Our purpose is "to provide a focal point for the study and discussion of the promotion of reading and print culture and electronic media, and for the integration of reading research and reading development activities." For our goals for 1998-2001, see the back cover.

New officers were elected at the 1997 conference in Copenhagen. The chair, John Y. Cole, is the director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The mission of the Center for the Book is to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy, and libraries. Adele Fasick, the new secretary-treasurer, is the former dean of the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto. She has been active in IFLA and is a former member of the Section on Children's Libraries. She edits the Section's database, International Abstracts: Youth Library Services.

We look forward to expanding the Section on Reading's involvement with other IFLA units. This extension began in recent years under the leadership of the former officers, Valeria Stelmakh, chair, and Shmuel Sever, secretary-treasurer.

This issue of the Newsletter reflects the range of the Section's interests. New members and partnerships are needed, however, if we are to become effective. We hope you will attend our Amsterdam program meeting (08:30 on Monday 17 August) and workshop (08:30 on Thursday 20 August), help us recruit new members and partners, and let us know your ideas about the Section on Reading and how it can become a vital part of IFLA.

IFLA 1998 - Amsterdam
Section on Reading Meetings

Standing Committee Meeting I
Saturday 15 August
Okura Hotel- Panoramique + Etoile Rooms

Programme Meeting
Theme: "Book and Reading Promotion in the Low Countries"
Monday 17 August
Conference Center - room to be announced

Theme: "Literacy and Reading Services to Cultural and Linguistic Minorities"
Thursday 20 August
Conference Center - room to be announced

Standing Committee Meeting II
Friday 21 August
Conference Center - room to be announced

Agenda Section on Reading Standing Committee Meeting I

Saturday 15 August

  1. Approval of Agenda

  2. Minutes of Standing Committee Meeting in Copenhagen

  3. Report of Chair

  4. Report of Secretary/Treasurer

  5. Sponsorship of Books for All project

  6. Sponsorship of Library of Congress Conference 2000

  7. Membership development

  8. Country (or regional) reports on reading development and research for Newsletter

  9. Medium Term Program, 1998-2001

  10. Plans for Bangkok Conference 1999

  11. Plans for Jerusalem Conference 2000


To help IFLA and its Section on Reading learn more about the challenges of illiteracy (the inability to read) and "aliteracy" (the lack of motivation to read) in different parts of the world, the IFLA Section on Reading will sponsor appropriate programs at each annual conference. In Amsterdam, the program Book and Reading Promotion in the Low Countries takes place on Monday 17 August at 08:30. Three speakers who have been prominent in promoting reading in the Low Countries will describe the activities and different approaches of their organizations. They are:

    Marieke Sanders-ten Holte
    Stichting Lezen
    "Creating an Optimal Reading Culture in the Low
    Countries: The Role of Stichting Lezen"

    Henk Kraima
    Director, Stichting CPNB
    "Bringing Publishers and Readers Together: the
    Stichting CPNB"

    Margreet Ruardi
    Director, Stichting Schrijvers School Samenleving
    "Bringing Writers and Schools Together: the Stichting
    Schrijvers School Samenleving"


A workshop sponsored by the Section on Reading in cooperation with the Section on Services to Multicultural Populations on the topic of Literacy and Reading Services to Cultural and Linguistic Minorities will be presented at the Amsterdam Conference on Thursday 20 August 1998 from 08:30 until 17:00.

In addition to the formal papers (see description below), the workshop will feature a panel of experts who work with minority language groups. These include Carlos Aleman Ocampo, who produces books in the minority Miskitu language in Nicaragua; Antoinette Correa, who recently published the first two children's books in Wolof and French; and Obadiah Moyo, who publishes books in the indigenous languages of Zimbabwe.

Several poster presentations of literacy and reading programs will be on display at the workshop. Participants will be encouraged to discuss their experiences and ask questions concerning service to cultural and linguistic minority groups.


"Expanding the Literacy of Linguistic Minorities: Coping Skills and Successful Transition Across Discourse Communities"

Speaker: Dr. Clara Chu
Dept. of Library and Information Science
University of California Los Angeles, USA

Abstract: 'New Literacy,' the ability to read and writing using multimedia, preferably in English, and to critically evaluate texts, is essential to prosper in an information and technology intensive world. For linguistic minorities (especially immigrants) to prosper, they need to achieve functional literacy, that is, the ability to read and write in the dominant national language to conduct daily tasks. This paper challenges this mainstream concept of literacy by examining the socially-contextualized nature of literacy, the strategies of coping and transitioning across diverse 'discourse communities' or socio-linguistic contexts, and the types of literacies held by lintuistic minorities. It concludes with strategic directions for delivering appropriate literacy services to linguistic minorities.

"Electronic Publishing and Minority Languages: the Contribution to Reading"

Speakers: Dr. Geraint Evans and Ms. Jane Del-Pizzo
Department of Information and Library Studies
University of Wales Aberystwyth, UK

Abstract: In 1997, the Welsh Books Council and the Welsh Language Board financed research at the Department of Information and Library Studies, University of Wales Aberystwyth. The research investigated the market for Welsh language CD-ROMs in the leisure and educational sectors, although any dividing line between sectors is blurred, especially in the light of "edutainment" and "infotainment" CD-ROMs. The research also evaluated the contribution which electronic publishing could make to the sustenance and development of a minority language to those in the formal education process and also to those in continuing education and lifelong learning. Evidence exists that electronic products can make learning and reading attractive to reluctant readers.

"Provision and Promotion of Minority Language Reading Material for Children and Young People: Case Study from Wales"

Speaker: Gwilym Huws
Department of Information and Library Studies
University of Wales Aberystwyth, UK

Abstract: Despite the small and declining number of Welsh-speakers in the population of Wales during this century since 1978, there has been a significant improvement both in the quantity and quality of Welsh language children's and school books. Equally impressive has been the transformation in the range and nature of activities to promote books and reading. This paper briefly describes the structural and other difficulties of the book industry in the 1950s and 1960s before discussing the contribution that a series of state-aided initiatives have made to the improved provision and marketing of children's books. It is hoped that some of the initiatives introduced to support Welsh children's books production and promotion could offer more general application for minority language publishing.

"From Literacy to Orality through Local Culture"

Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Knuth
Dept. of Information and Computer Sciences
University of Hawaii, USA

Abstract: Research into the complex nature of traditional societies has redefined literacy as socially constructed and locally embedded practices or behaviors suggesting the potential for a dynamic, interactive, and mutually supportive relationship between orality and literacy rather than a dichotomous one. This paper extrapolates from this body of research and explores options for the development of basic reading materials that support and validate the cultural practices of individual communities, help students to construct literacy out of local knowledge, facilitate the transition from oral to written culture, and promote a literate environment.

"Professionalism Is the Condition for Success"

Speaker: Dr. Silva Novljan
National and University Library, Slovenia

Abstract: The results of the Slovenian reading literacy survey show that at the primary level grade a professional librarian employed in school library is more important for the development of reading literacy than a non-professional worker. The professional librarian promotes more efficiently the library and its stock and the role and importance of the library. The librarian also helps through skillful counseling and selection and display of books that pupils and teachers use. Introductions of pupils to school library use, library education and borrowing books with regard to the type of school library worker show that there are no differences in the decisions of class teachers and pupils for these forms of library work if there is a librarian or a teacher employed in school library.

"Two-Way Bilingual Immersion Program"

Speaker: Dr. Maureen White
School Library and Information Science Program University of Houston Clear Lake, USA

Abstract: The Two-Way Immersion Program at the L.A.
Morgan Academy of Fine Arts, Galveston Independent School District in the Houston, Texas area, provides 90% of the instruction in Spanish for kindergarten, first, and second grade classes. Children from two language groups, approximately an even number of native Spanish and English speakers, learn together and support each other's second language acquisition. Spanish literature and the Spanish version of Johns Hopkins University's "Success for All" reading program is used for instruction. Initial success in the program seems to come from dedicated teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

To register for this workshop, please send your name before 10 August 1998 to:

    A.M. Fasick
    Secretary, Section on Reading
    1386 - 28 Avenue
    San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
    fax: +1 415-564-3096

    e-mail: amfasick@crl.com

Global Issues are the Focus of the 1998 American Library Association (ALA) Conference

The report that follows comes from Adele Fasick, who attended many of the meetings of interest to IFLA Section on Reading members at the ALA conference in Washington in June 1998.

Barbara Ford, president of the American Library Association, made global issues the focus of the ALA conference held in Washington D.C. from 26 June - 1 July 1998. The theme of the conference was "Global Reach, Local Touch". The number of international visitors attending the conference was the largest in the history of the Association. Madame Christine Deschamps, President of IFLA, was one of the keynote speakers at the President's Program. She talked about the increasing need for cultural exchange between librarians because the information world is getting smaller. She also mentioned the need for librarians to ensure the free flow of information in order to narrow the gap between information poor and the information rich, and the importance of cooperation of librarians to digitalize and preserve information worldwide.

Among other programs with an international focus at the conference was one on International Book Fairs. This meeting included an account of the ALA sponsored trip to the Harare Book Fair, a report on the Bologna Book Fair, the Guadalajara Book Fair and the Frankfurt Fair. Barbara Ford initiated the sponsorship of ALA delegations to international book fairs, an initiative that will be continued and perhaps increased in coming years.

An International Literacy Fair brought together agencies from five countries to present their programs for increasing literacy. Among the groups represented were the Commonwealth Library Association, the Library Association of Latvia, the Czech Republic Libraries Association, and Beyond Borders, which sponsors a literacy project in Haiti. Many American literacy agencies were also represented. Poster displays and face-to-face talk enabled participants to share ideas about successful projects for reaching youth and adults in many different settings.

A full-day program on "New Ways to Serve the Library User: A Global Perspective" was an opportunity for speakers from many different countries to describe ways in which library services are delivered in different countries. Topics ranged from the use of library services as catalysts for development in Zimbabwe to the efforts in Switzerland to create multi-language subject headings. All of the papers from this program area available on the ALA Website: www.ala.org/work/international/intlpprs/index/html

The incoming American Library Association president, Ann K. Symons announced that the global emphasis of the Association will be continued. Barbara Ford, in her role as past-president will be working with IFLA and other international associations to raise the level of interest among American librarians in global issues.

Conference on "Libraries, Reading, and Publishing in the Cold War" Held in Paris

The IFLA Round Table on Library History, in cooperation with the IFLA Section on Reading, sponsored a well-attended international conference in Paris on 11-12 June, 1998, on the topic "Libraries, Reading, and Publishing in the Cold War." Many members of both IFLA groups including Section on Reading chair John Y. Cole, participated in the meeting, which featured 22 papers dealing with the effects of the Cold War on the international book and library community. Censorship and its effects on intellectual freedom, library collection development, the freedom to read, and literary publishing were major topics. Papers specifically addressed developments within IFLA itself and in the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Finland, Francophone Africa, Czechoslovakia, France, and Romania.

The conference was also sponsored by the French National Library School. The coordinator was Martine Poulain, 27 rue Bezout, 74014, Paris, France, fax: 33-1-40-64-1089, e-mail: poulain@ext.jussieu.fr. Information about the availability of the papers will be in the next issue of the Section on Reading's Newsletter.

UNESCO "Reading for all" Program Launched

Section on Reading chair John Y. Cole represented IFLA on 24-25 November 1997, in Aswan, Egypt at the first meeting of the UNESCO-sponsored International Panel on the Reading for All Program. Chaired by Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt's First Lady, the panel was established "to advise on the preparation and implementation" of a new international program inspired by the successful Egyptian "Reading for All" project initiated by Mrs. Mubarak in 1991. The program promotes the reading habit among children, primarily through strengthening public libraries and distributing inexpensive reading materials in underprivileged rural and urban communities. In March 1997, UNESCO Egyptian authorities agreed to allow UNESCO members to benefit from the Egyptian experience through UNESCO-coordinated national and regional initiatives.

Following opening addresses by Mrs. Mubarak and UNESCO Director Federico Mayor, panel members heard presentations about the Egyptian program. Panel members made individual presentations on the second day, focusing on reading promotion programs carried in their respective countries. The other nations represented on the panel were Brazil, Bulgaria, Morocco, Philippines, Sengal, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago.

In its recommendations to UNESCO, the panel expressed its approval of this UNESCO initiative, its appreciation of the Egyptian "Reading for All" program, and agreed to share its findings "with organizations involved in the promotion of reading," and to report back with the reactions at its next meeting. In addition to recommending that "governments and nongovernmental organizations consider the possibilities of the Egyptian Reading for All program," the panel recommended that government and non-government agencies "evaluate their past and present national reading promotion activities with the aim of carrying out an assessment of needs in this field."

Following the November conference, UNESCO placed the new Reading for All Program under the responsibility of a newly created Unit for Special Projects in its Communication, Information, and Infomatics Sector. A series of regional Reading for All meetings is being planned for the 1998/1999 biennium. Egypt, Bulgaria, and Brazil have agreed to host meetings for the Arabic, Eastern European, and Latin American/Caribbean regions, respectively. The meetings tentatively are scheduled for late 1998. UNESCO headquarters also reports that South Africa and the Philippines are interested in hosting meetings for their regions. Moreover, UNESCO hopes to provide financial support for individual country projects that are now considered part of Reading for All.

"Books for All" Project Marks its 25th Anniversary

At its meeting in Amsterdam, the Section on Reading will discuss how it can become supportive of the IFLA-UNESCO Books For All project. The information about Books for All that follows was furnished by the project's director, Lioba Betten.

Books for All provides books and other reading material to children and young people by supporting school and public libraries in developing countries. It is a grass-roots project that also fights illiteracy. It is funded entirely through contributions from industrialized nations.

Since Books for All was founded by IFLA in 1973, it has supported more than 100 libraries in more than 50 countries. Today the project is jointly administered by UNESCO and IFLA, where it is part of the Children's Library Section. Since 1990 the project's offices have been in Germany. Lioba Betten became director in 1991. Suzanne Kruger became chair of international board in 1997.

Between 1990 and 1997, Books for All supported the development of 46 libraries in Africa, ten libraries in Latin America, nine libraries in Southeast Asia, and five libraries in other countries. Much needed donations from corporations, foundations, community service clubs, and individuals are obtained directly and through collections at events such as book festivals, benefit concerts, and exhibitions. Collections are made at selected libraries, museums, and bookstores.

For a brochure and other information, contact Lioba Betten, Books For All, Brunhildenstr. 34, D-80639 Munchen, Germany, phone: (49)-89-172383, fax: (49)-89-2607896.

Conference on "National Libraries of the World" Announced for 23-27 October, 2000

At its meeting in Amsterdam, the IFLA Section on Reading will consider becoming one of the international co-sponsors of the conference described below. On 23-27 October, 2000, the Library of Congress will host an international conference on "National Libraries of the World: Interpreting the Past, Shaping the Future." The conference is part of the the Library of Congress's commemoration of its bicentennial in the year 2000. The co-chairs are Winston Tabb, associate librarian for Library Services, and John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book, and chairman of the IFLA Section on Reading. The American Library Association's Library History Round Table is a co-sponsor, and other international groups connected with the American Library Association and IFLA have been invited to participate.

The conference planning committee welcomes proposals for individual papers dealing with the role of national libraries--or large research libraries--within a national or international cultural context. Papers may deal with any geographic area or chronological period. Individuals interested in presenting papers should send a two-page proposal with a brief curriculum vitae by December 1, 1998, to John Y. Cole, Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20540-4920, telephone: 202-707-5221, fax: 202-707-0269, e-mail: jcole@loc.gov.

Proceedings Published for the 1996 Conference on "Libraries and Reading in Times of Cultural Change"

On 19-21 June 1996, the IFLA Secton on Reading and the IFLA Round Table on Library History jointly sponsored an international conference in Vologda, Russia, on "Libraries and Reading in Times of Cultural Change." More than 20 prominent Russian and American scholars--sociologists, historians, specialists in literature and library studies--participated in the meeting. The papers discussed the historical role of libraries, literature, and reading in the United States and Russia, particularly in the context of social and cultural changes in the contemporary world. The meeting was funded by the Russian Ministry of Culture, the Russian State Library, the Open Society Institute (Soros) and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The proceedings of the Vologda conference were published early in 1998. The English version, edited by Round Table chair Pamela Spence Richards, was published as the January 1998 issue of the journal Libraries & Culture. Titled "The History of Reading and Libraries in the United States and Russia," the issue is available to individuals for $9.00 and to institutions for $17.00 from: Libraries & Culture, University of Texas Press, P.O. Box 7819, Austin, TX 78713-7819. Orders should be accompanied by a check made payable to the University of Texas Press.

The Russian version, edited by Valeria Stelmakh, former chair of the Section on Reading, has been published by the Vologda Regional Library with support from the Open Society Institute (Soros). This version can be distributed only on an exchange basis. For information contact Nelly Belova, director, Vologda Regional Library, M. Ul'yanova str., 1, Vologda, 16000, Russia, fax: (7) (817-2) 25-1769. Other inquiries about the availability of the Russian version should be directed to Valeria Stelmakh, Russian State Library, Vozdvizhenka 3, Moscow 10100, Russia, fax: (7) (095) 200-2255, e-mail: irgbglas@apc.org.

IFLA Section on Reading Officers

    John Y. Cole
    Center for the Book
    Library of Congress
    101 Independence Ave., SE
    Washington, DC 20540-4920
    phone: 202-707-5221/ fax: 202-707-0269
    e-mail: jcole@loc.gov

    Adele Fasick

    1386 28th Ave.
    San Francisco, CA 94122
    phone/fax: 415-564-3096
    e-mail: amfasick@crl.com

    Please photocopy the Section on Reading information flyer on the next page and distribute it in your library or association.

IFLA Section on Reading

Join a Section that gets to the heart of library service -- Reading


    The chance to participate in international discussion about issues of literacy, reading promotion and publishing.

    The opportunity to make a contribution to knowledge about reading and readers.

    The opportunity to join with colleagues to carry out research on problems of reading.


    To assume a leadership role in outlining strategies for international campaigns that support reading development.

    To monitor the dissemination of knowledge about reading, readers, and library patrons.

    To promote the understanding of reading patterns and literacy problems among librarians and other cultural agents.

    To explore various ways of promoting reading and literacy in specific cultural milieus.

    To carry out research on the problems of literacy and reading.

    To emphasize the role of reading in children's development and to outline various methods that have been used in different countries.


    For further information contact IFLA Headquarters, P.O.B. 95312, 2509 CH The Hague, Netherlands, tel +(31)(70)3140884; fax +(31)(70)3834827

    Information is also available on IFLANET at http://www.ifla.org or contact Chair John Y. Cole (jcole@loc.gov) or Secretary Adele Fasick (amfasick@crl.com).


Latest Revision: March 1, 1999 Copyright © 1995-2000
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions