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A Message from the Section Officers

IFLA 1999- Bangkok - Section on Reading Meetings and Programme

Reading Section Brochure Published

Programme Meeting in Bangkok: Book and Reading Promotion in Southeast Asia

The Section on Reading Objectives

Booklet Available on Literacy and Reading Services to Cultural and Linguistic Minorities

Global Intellectual Freedom Discussed at American Library Association Program

Papers from 1998 Conference on Cold War to be Published in Libraries & Culture

Papers Available from 1996 Conference on "Libraries and Reading in times of Cultural Change

Reading Conference to be Sponsored by IBBY in Havana in November 1999

23 April - World Book and Copyright Day

Pushkin Library Project

Current Research in Reading and Literacy

Libraries and Literacy

The Section on Readings's Recent and Future Activities

International Organization Feature

For Further Information

Newsletter of the Section on Reading

No. 8 - August 1999


IFLA established its Section on Reading several years ago, combining its Round Table on Research in Reading and its Round Table of Children's Literature Documentation Centres. Our activities incorporate but also extend beyond those of the former Round Tables. Although we are one of IFLA's newest sections, our focus is on one of IFLA's (and librarianship's) oldest concerns: reading and its importance for individuals and society. Our objectives, projects, and publications are outlined elsewhere in this Newsletter.

In order to be more effective, the Section on Reading needs more members. Our first information brochure will be distributed at the Bangkok conference. It outlines four good reasons for joining the IFLA Section on Reading. They are: 1) to support advocacy of an activity--reading--that is at the heart of library service; 2) to keep up-to-date about issues such as literacy and the role of reading in the electronic age, about current research in reading and literacy, and about the activities and projects of organizations active in reading and literacy promotion; 3) to share common interests with a world-wide network of library and reading professionals; and 4) to participate in projects that highlight the importance of libraries and the written word to knowledge-based democracy.

Please consider joining us in our important work of promoting reading and research about reading in this digital age. See our new brochure for details and a membership form. You may also contact IFLA Headquarters, c/o Ms. Charlotta Brynger, Membership Officer, P.O. Box 95312, 2509 CH The Hague, Netherlands, fax: +31-70-3834827, e-mail: charlotta.brynger@ifla.org . Each of us can also provide information and encouragement.

Thank you.
John Y. Cole, Chair

Adele M. Fasick, Secretary-Treasurer


IFLA 1999- Bangkok
Section on Reading
Meetings and Programme

Standing Committee Meeting I
Saturday, 21 August
09:00 - 11:50



  1. Approval of Agenda
  2. Minutes of Standing Committee Meetings in Amsterdam
  3. Report of Chair
  4. Report of Secretary-Treasurer
  5. Reports from Committee members
  6. Election of Officers
  7. Projects
    • Books for All
    • Reading for All
    • Pushkin Library Project
  8. Annual commemorations
    • World Book and Copyright Day
    • International Literacy Day
  9. Newsletter column on "Current Research in Reading and Literacy"
  10. Membership Brochure and Development
  11. Medium Term Program, 1998-2001
  12. Plans for Jerusalem Conference in 2000
  13. Plans for Boston Conference in 2001

Programme Meeting
Tuesday, 24 August
12:30 - 15:00
Theme: "Book and Reading Promotion in Southeast Asia"

(See details re. Programme Meeting below)

Standing Committee Meeting II
Friday, 27 August
10:30 - 12:20



The Section on Reading has published its first information brochure. It will be available at the IFLA Headquarters booth at the Bangkok conference. Multiple copies for distribution have been sent to members of the Standing Committee. We hope the brochure's bright colors attract attention and help us attract new members. The brochure describes the Section's objectives, recent and future activities, projects, and publications. It concludes with "four good reasons for joining the IFLA Section on Reading." Additional copies are available from the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20540-4920, USA.



To help IFLA and its Section on Reading learn more about reading promotion in different parts of the world, the Section on Reading sponsors appropriate programmes at each annual conference. In Bangkok, the programme "Book and Reading Promotion in Southeast Asia" takes place on Tuesday 24 August at 12:30. Three speakers will address different aspects of reading promotion and its relationship to libraries and society.
They are:

Somsong Saengkaeo
National Library of Thailand
"Reading Habit Promotion in ASEAN Libraries"

Abstract: This paper describes the different activities that ASEAN Libraries have undertaken to promote reading by increasing awareness among their people. Secondly, roles of local institutes or organizations in helping libraries conducting reading habit promotion have been acknowledged. Finally, some suggestions on effective methods and successful programs of reading habit promotion by ASEAN Libraries have been collected.

Aree Cheunwattana
Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok
"Delivering and Promoting Library Services in Rural Thailand"

Abstract: The paper reports the author's case study findings which reveal diverse patterns of library and information services in the rural communities in Thailand. These patterns include: rural public libraries, learning centers, and village reading centers, under the public library system; a bookmobile service, part of a university library extension program; and a combined library, within the school library system. The level of services of these patterns are discussed in relationship to the information policies, information infrastructure, and information needs and use. A number of recommendations are proposed to improve and promote the existing services.

Supannee Varatorn
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
"National Award Books as Quality Information Resources in Thailand"

Abstract: This paper deals with the importance of book contests and book awards in Thailand, especially the National Book Awards announced during the National Book Week. The results of an analysis of the national book award books for fiction and non-fiction by author, content and subject are discussed, showing how these highly recognized books are quality information resources. The study of the availability of these national award books in some leading academic, school, public and national libraries is also presented. The findings offer suggestions for improving book production in Thailand, enhancing the value of national award books and making information professionals and users aware of these quality information resources and putting them to the best use.



  • Providing leadership, advice, and information regarding international campaigns that support reading development;

  • Monitoring and promoting research about reading, literacy, readers, and library users;

  • Through discussion, publications, and conferences, encouraging a better understanding of reading patterns and literacy problems;

  • Raising awareness of the importance of reading in children's development and sharing information about research and reading promotion activities regarding young people.



The Section on Reading has prepared and distributed Literacy and Reading Services to Cultural and Linguistic Minorities, a 55-page booklet containing papers presented on 20 August 1998 at its IFLA 1998 workshop in Amsterdam. The papers and their authors are: "Building a Literate Environment: Using Oral-based Reading Materials to Facilitate Literacy," by Rebecca Knuth; "Expanding the Literacy of Linguistic Minorities: Coping Skills and Successful Transition Across Discourse Communities, by Clara M. Chu; "In Librarianship Professionalism is the Condition for Success," by Silva Novljan; "From Oral Tradition to Written Culture," by Carlos Aleman Ocampo; "Producing and Promoting Children's Books in a Minority Language: The Welsh Experience 1950-1998," by Gwilym Huws;"Electronic Publishing and Minority Languages: The Contribution to Literacy," by Geraint Evans and Jane Del-Pizzo; "Literacy in Two Languages: Best of Both Worlds," by Maureen White and Judith Marquez; "Literacy: A Library and the Community Programs at Gosford City Library, NSW, Australia," by Heather Fisher.

Copies of the booklet are available on request from the 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: cfbook@loc.gov.



Several programs of interest to librarians worldwide were presented at the June 1999 annual conference of the American Library Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. One of these was "Intellectual Freedom: A Global Perspective." Among the papers presented were the following:

"Access to the Law in Australia: the Australian Commonwealth Parliamentary Library's Contribution"
Speaker: Mary Anne Neilsen

"Bulgarian Librarians in Support of Intellectual Freedom Issues"
Speaker: Snejena Ianeva

"Intellectual Freedom-Taiwan's Perspective"
Speaker: Mei-Mei Wu

"Intellectual Freedom-Whose Problem?"
Speaker: Svend Larsen

"Access to Information in Azerbaijan"
Speaker: Muzghan Nazarova

Although the situations in the different countries represented are very different, many issues are common to all. Each speaker emphasized the changes that have occurred in recent years in providing greater access to information. Mary Anne Neilson reported that "From a situation in the early 1990s, when legal information was prohibitively expensive and consequently only accessible to a small minority, Australia by 1996 emerged as a world leader in the provision of freely accessible public legal materials." Much of this information is now available via the Internet.

Professor Mei-Mei Wu, speaking of the situation in Taiwan, reported on the abolishment of the publication law. This move has been a symbol for the democratic modernization process in Taiwan, which has occurred in the post-martial law period starting in 1988. The 1990s have seen the passage of government information access laws and in May 1999 a library law that "assures rich collections and quality information services."

The papers from this program will soon be available on the web site of the International Relations Committee and International Relations Round Table of the American Library Association at: http://www.ala.org/work/international/index.html . Also at that Web site are listings of many of the international activities of ALA, listings of global exchange programs for librarians, international book fairs at which ALA is represented and links to international library organizations.



Martine Poulain, coordinator of the 11-12 June 1998 conference in Paris on "Libraries, Reading, and Publishing in the Cold War," has announced that there will not be a separate book published containing the 22 papers presented at the meeting. Instead, selected papers will be published in a future issue of Libraries & Culture, a quarterly journal published by the University of Texas Press. The conference was sponsored by the IFLA Round Table on Library History in cooperation with the IFLA Section on Reading.



Both English and Russian language versions of papers presented at the 19-21 June 1996 conference in Vologda, Russia, are now available. The meeting was jointly sponsored by the IFLA Round Table on Library History and the IFLA Section on Reading. The English language version, edited by Round Table chair Pamela Spence Richards, was published as the January 1998 issue of 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) and the Section on Reading. Inquiries about its availability should be directed to Valeria Stelmakh, Russian State Library, Vozdvizhenka 3, Moscow 10100, Russia, fax: (7)(095)200-2255, e-mail: irgbglas@apc.org.



Cubana del IBBY, the Cuban section of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY), will sponsor a regional conference in Havana, Cuba, 22-26 November 1999. The conference will encourage reflection and the sharing of experiences based on the principles enunciated by Jose Marti: "You must know the forces at work in the world in order to put them to work." Discussion will develop around reading as an emotional and reflective act, as well as an act of communication, "which reflects the multi-faceted relationship of human beings with the universe". Seminars, workshops, meetings, and round tables will be held on diverse topics such as "Reading and Musical Text: Spiritual and Ethical Context," "Reading and Advertising," and "Adventures, Ventures, and Misadventures of the Child and Juvenile Reader." The conference will also host a book fair and a festival for young readers. For information, contact:
Comite Cubano Del IBBY
Dra. Emilia Gallego
Calle 15 604 e/C, Vedado, La Habana Cuba
tel.: (53-7) 36034-328829-329526;
fax: (53-7) 33-3441



UNESCO has proclaimed 23 April as "World Book and Copyright Day " to promote reading, publishing, and the protection of intellectual property through copyright. In a statement about the importance of books and reading, Milagros del Corral, director of UNESCO's Division of Creativity, Cultural Industries and Copyright, and head of the organization's Publishing Office, said: "Reading means establishing an interactive dialogue with the virtual universe created by the author of a text: a universe of intellectual representations that differ according to the imagination of each reader." Ms. del Corral highlighted the persistent inequalities in reading: "There are books on all subjects, for all publics and for all times. But we must make sure that books are accessible to everybody everywhere". For further information about World Book and Copyright Day, please contact:
UNESCO Division of Creativity, Cultural
Industries and Copyright
Attention: Mr. Georges Poussin
1, rue Miollis 75732 Paris Cedex 15 (France)
tel: (33) 1 45 68 43 13 / fax: (33) 1 45 68 55 95
e-mail: g.poussin@unesco.org
Also visit the UNESCO Web site: http://www.unesco.org



At its Standing Committee meetings in Amsterdam, the Section on Reading agreed to help support the "Pushkin Library: Books for Russian Libraries" project, which is sponsored by the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation). The project, started in 1998, is a cooperative project between publishers and libraries that provides Russian libraries with books in all fields. This effort is urgently needed to counteract the economic and social pressures in the former socialist countries (e.g. abolishment of censorship, elimination of strict state control over readers and libraries, transition to a market economy, diminished financial support) that threaten to undermine the entire library system. In a pilot project more than 1000 libraries participated. A larger project is now underway in Russia and it has been expanded to include Eastern European countries. Expert councils have been formed to help select the titles to be included in the project, and an annotated book catalog has been compiled and distributed to participating libraries. Libraries are able to select "book packages" that they can obtain at a greatly reduced cost. As it has developed, the project therefore encompasses several purposes: financial support for book collections and libraries themselves; financial support for expanding the scope of collections to include books on topics not previously available or in demand in socialist countries; strengthening the "publisher-library-user" relationship as part of the developing free book market; and promoting reading and libraries as bulwarks of a democratic society.



This section contains selected abstracts of current research in the fields of reading and literacy and related areas and will also appear with other Section on Reading news on IFLANET.

    Anwar, Mumtaz Ali; Supaat, Hana Iman.
    "Information Needs of Rural Malaysians: An Exploratory Study of a Cluster of Three Villages with No Library Service."
    International Information and Library Review 30 (1998): 23-36.

Abstract: Although literature on rural libraries is abundant, there is very little literature on the information needs of rural populations. This article presents an analysis of 33 studies on rural information needs and the findings of a study of the information needs of the population of a cluster of three Malaysian villages with no library service. A total of 108 individuals from approximately 300 households were interviewed during February 1996. All the respondents are literate and show a strong interest in reading. Their top five information needs related to: 1) religious information; 2) family bonding; 3) current affairs; 4) health information; and 5) education. The top five purposes for seeking information were: 1) fulfillment of the need to know; 2) solving problems; 3) self-development; 4) establishing a better family; and 5) work purposes. The top five sources of information were : 1) television/radio; 2) friends/neighbors; 3) printed materials; 4) relatives from the city; and 5) the school (library). If a library service were available, 93.4 percent of the respondents say they would be interested in using it. The results emphasize that the needs of the rural population must be carefully investigated when planning rural library services.

    Di Loreto, Christina; Lucy Tse.
    "Seeing is Believing: Disparity of Books in Two Los Angeles Area Public Libraries."
    Public Library Quarterly 17, no. 3 (1999): 31-36.

Abstract : There is abundant research showing a link between access to books and reading ability. This study looks at the availability of books in two public libraries, one located in an upper-class neighborhood and the other in a working-class area, focusing specifically on the resources available to children and adolescents. An examination of the books and magazine holdings, the facilities, the reading programs offered, the staff available, and the funding provided reveal that significant disparities exist. Although Beverly Hills serves a community twice the size of Santa Fe Springs, the Beverly Hills Public Library offers four times as many books for children and adolescents and has four times as many reading programs as the Santa Fe Springs Library. Beverly Hills has 60,000 books; Santa Fe Springs, 13,000; Beverly Hills has 12 reading programs, Santa Fe Springs has 3; Beverly Hills has 14 Children's section librarians and staff, Santa Fe Springs has none. With these start differences, students in poor and working-class neighborhoods are unlikely o have access to the books in their community, access necessary to develop high levels of literacy.

    Worthy, Jo; Moorman, Megan; Turner, Margo.
    "What Johnny Likes to Read Is Hard to Find in School."
    Reading Research Quarterly 34, no. 1 (1999): 12-27.

Abstract: This article reports on a study of middle school students in a large, ethnically diverse city in Texas (U.S.) Preference surveys and open-ended questions about favorite reading materials and authors showed that the most preferred materials were scary stories, comics, popular magazines, and sports magazines. Other popular materials were drawing books, books and magazines about cars and trucks, series books, funny books, and books about animals. There were few differences found between the interests of boys and girls, or those of children with different levels of reading achievement and interest. Students' access to reading materials was examined through student questionnaires and through interviews with teachers and librarians. Most children obtained reading materials by buying them. School libraries had limited collections and classroom materials were even more limited. The authors discuss whether the emphasis in collections should be on more popular materials that children would be likely to read without the need for adult intervention.

Abstracts for inclusion in Current Research in Reading and Literacy should be sent to:

Shirley A. Fitzgibbons
School of Library and Information Science
Indiana University
10th St. and Jordan Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-1801
e-mail: fitzgibb@indiana.edu
fax: 812-855-6166



The expansion of the definition of literacy in recent years to include concepts such as functional literacy, family literacy, information literacy, and even computer literacy has brought with it a reconsideration of the connection between libraries and literacy. Should literacy promotion be part of a library's mission? If so, in what ways, with what kinds of audiences in mind, and in what types of libraries?

The American Library Association (ALA) recently adopted "21st Century Literacy" as one of five "key action areas" to help it fulfill its mission of providing "the highest quality library and information services for all people." What follows are some key excerpts from the ALA's new brochure on the topic. It begins with the assertion that "helping children and adults develop the skills they need to fully participate in an information society-whether it's learning to read or explore the Internet" is central to the library's mission. Copies of the 8-page brochure may be obtained without charge from the American Library Association or from the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

"Whether information is printed in a book or on a screen, the ability to read is a basic survival skill. The advent of technology is increasing, not reducing its importance.. .. Definitions of 21st century literacy encompass the need for information literacy-the ability to obtain, interpret and use information from print sources, computers, and other media. This larger definition demands that libraries-public, school, and academic-become more than on-ramps to the information highway. They must also be centers for "driver's ed" where children, their parents and grandparents can develop the skills to live, learn, work and govern in a society transformed by technology.

As information professionals, librarians have the opportunity and responsibility to educate community leaders and the public about these changes and the expanded role of libraries. Good libraries help create a literate public. A literate public demands good libraries.

Libraries are places for people of all ages and abilities who want to read and learn. For children, public libraries offer a full complement of programs, including preschool story hours, reading clubs, homework help and Internet training to assisting in developing reading and information literacy skills. For adult learners, public libraries are places where they can learn and practice new skills without embarrassment. Most public libraries provide information and referral about adult literacy programs in their communities. A growing number of public libraries also sponsor family literacy programs. These programs aim both to help parents improve their reading skills and to help them raise children who are readers and lifelong learners¼ In schools, colleges, and universities, librarians teach students and faculty how to use information technology for research and other needs. More importantly, these programs teach how to find the best source of information, using print, computers, and other media. Many public libraries offer similar training for parents, business people and other adults who wish to develop the technical skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

Helping people of all ages to be savvy consumers of information is becoming an increasingly important part of what libraries and librarians do. Today's librarians are taking a leadership role in creating and identifying quality Web sites in much the same way they organize and recommend print materials."

The brochure concludes with a list of ten actions that librarians can take, e.g. "make literacy in all its forms central to your library's mission," and a sampling of ALA resources that will help librarians promote literacy.



Clearinghouse for information
    Current information about the Section on Reading's activities is available on IFLANET at http://archive.ifla.org/VII/s33/sr.htm . The Section's newsletter, annual report, publications, and action plan for 1999-2000 are included. Through this Web site and links to other Web sites, the Section seeks to become a clearinghouse for information about international reading and literacy promotion and research projects and their organizational sponsors.

Annual program

    At each annual conference, the Section on Reading sponsors a program and/or a workshop that profiles reading promotion or literacy activities in the host country or specific issues or problems concerning reading or literacy.

Projects include:

  • "Current Research in Reading and Literacy," selected abstracts summarized for the Section's newsletter and Web site;
  • Workshops and conferences such as "Literacy and Reading Services to Cultural and Linguistic Minorities (Amsterdam, 1998); and, in cooperation with the IFLA Round Table on Library History, "Libraries, Reading, and Publishing in the Cold War" (Paris, 1998);
  • Co-sponsorship of projects such as the IFLA/UNESCO "Books for All" project (with the IFLA Children's Section), and the Open Society's "Pushkin Library: Books for Russian Libraries" project;

Publications include:

  • Literacy and Reading Services to Cultural and Linguistic Minorities, papers presented at the Section on Reading's 1998 workshop in Amsterdam;
  • The Russian language version of the papers presented in June 1996 in Vologda, Russia at the conference "Libraries and Reading in Times of Cultural Change," cosponsored with the IFLA Round Table on Library History. The English language version was published in the Winter 1998 issue of the journal, Libraries & Culture.
  • Several conference proceedings and research papers published between 1988-1996 before the Section on Reading was established. See the Section's Web site on IFLANET for information.



The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization that represents people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. It was founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1953. Today it is composed of more than sixty National Sections. The members of the National Sections include authors and illustrators, publishers and editors, translators, journalists and critics, teachers, university professors and students, librarians and booksellers, social workers and parents.

IBBY's mission is: to promote international understanding through children's books; to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards; to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children's books, especially in developing countries; to provide support and training for those involved with children and children's literature; and to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children's literature.

IBBY's policies and programs are determined by its executive committee: ten people from different countries and a President, elected biennially by the National Sections at a General Assembly during the IBBY Congresses. They work on a voluntary basis. The daily management of IBBY's affairs is conducted from its Secretariat in Basal, Switzerland. The annual dues from the National Sections are IBBY's only source of regular income.

As a non-governmental organizational with official status in UNESCO and UNICEF, IBBY has a policy-making role as an advocate of children's books. IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations in 1990. One of its main proclamations is the right of the child to a general education and to direct access to information. Thanks to the initiative of IBBY in its formulation, the resolution appeals to all nations to promote the production and distribution of children's books. IBBY also cooperates with many international organizations and children's book institutions around the world and exhibits at the International Children's Book Fair in Bologna and other international book fairs.

Regional conferences are an important IBBY activity. The third IBBY conference in the U.S. will be held in Madison, Wisconsin on 7-9 October 1999. The theme is "Points of View." The forthcoming regional conference in Havana, Cuba is described in this newsletter.

For information, contact Alida Cutts, USIBBY, 800 Barksdale Road, P.O. Box 8139, Newark, DE 19714-8139, USA, tel: (1302) 731 16 00, fax: (1302) 731 10 57. For general information, contact the IBBY Secretariat, Nonnenweg 12, Postfach, CH-4003, Basel, Switzerland, tel: (4161) 272 29 17, fax: (4161) 272 27 57, e-mail: ibby@eye.ch.



Contact IFLA Headquarters
P.O.B. 95312 , 2509 CH
The Hague, Netherlands,
tel: +(31)(70)3140884; fax: +(31)(70)3834827, or

Contact the Section on Reading officers :
Chair 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 or

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

Visit the Section on IFLANET at: www.ifla.org/VII/s33/sr.htm


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