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Newsletter of the Section on Reading
No. 9 - December 1999
LOOKING AHEAD: A MESSAGE FROM THE SECTION OFFICERSIFLA 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. The Section's projects and programs incorporate but also extend beyond the work of those former Round Tables to include reading and literacy promotion. Our literacy activities will intensify in the future as a result of an important development at the recent Bangkok conference. IFLA's Literacy Task Force submitted its report to the IFLA Professional Board, which turned the report and its recommendations over to the Section on Reading for whatever uses and action we deem appropriate. As a first step the Section plans to sponsor both a program and a workshop concerning literacy and library-based programs for literacy at the Jerusalem conference next year.
This is an exciting development for the Section on Reading, which is still one of IFLA's newest Sections. However to be truly effective in spreading the word about the importance of library-based programs that promote literacy-and the importance of promoting reading and research about reading and literacy-our Section on Reading needs more members and project participants. Our first information brochure was distributed at the Bangkok conference and accompanies this Newsletter. 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 that promote reading and literacy; 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 and let others know about our activities. See the new brochure for details and a membership form. You may also contact IFLA Headquarters, c/o Charlotta Brynger, Membership Officer, P.O. Box 95312, 2509 CH, The Hague. Netherlands. fax: +31-70-3834827. Each of us can also provide information and advice.
Adele M. Fasick, Secretary-Treasurer
JERUSALEM PROGRAM AND WORKSHOP TO EMPHASIZE LITERACYThe Section on Reading plans to sponsor two programs at the IFLA conference in Jerusalem in August 2000. The open session will feature papers about reading research and evaluation studies and will emphasize, as far as possible, work related to literacy and libraries. An all-day workshop, "Library-Based Programs to Promote Literacy" (see the call for papers that follows) will bring together librarians and other experts from several countries and regions to explore library-based programs that promote literacy. The objective, which may form the basis of a literacy workshop or program at the Boston conference in 2001, is the development of guidelines for planning successful projects.
CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS FOR JERUSALEM CONFERENCE WORKSHOPWorkshop: "Library-Based Programs to Promote Literacy"
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Venue: Conference of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)
Date: 13-18 August 2000
Sponsor: IFLA Section on Reading
Goal of Workshop: To bring together librarians and other experts from several countries and regions to explore library-based programs for the promotion of literacy. Programs for both children and adults will be considered. Papers should focus on such issues as the factors which make for a successful program; the sustainability of programs; training for personnel involved in the programs; the provision of materials for newly literate people; and obtaining funding for programs. The objective is to work toward providing guidelines for planning successful projects.
Important Dates for Submitting Presentations for Jerusalem Conference Workshop
31 January 2000
31 March 2000
Format of Presentations: The intention is to include case studies that provide guidance about the factors associated with successful literacy programs in libraries. Presentations need not be given as formal papers but can be descriptions of successful programs or unsuccessful programs that have been attempted. An analytical approach that assesses both strengths and weaknesses of each program is encouraged. Visual aids such as slides and publicity materials are welcomed. The Section on Reading is seeking papers from several different geographical areas.
No financial support can be provided, but a special invitation will be issued to the accepted participants. Presentations must be given in one of the official IFLA languages (English, French, German, Russian, Spanish). The major workshop language will be English.
"BOOK AND READING PROMOTION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA" FEATURED AT BANGKOK CONFERENCE MEETING.The Section on Reading held a very successful conference programme at the IFLA conference in Bangkok. A crowd of approximately 100 people attended "Book and Reading Promotion in Southeast Asia," held on Tuesday 24 August. Three speakers provided different perspectives on the topic and answered questions from an interested audience. The papers, outlined below, are available both on IFLANET and in printed form.
In her presentation on "Delivering and Promoting Library Services in Rural Thailand, Aree Cheunwattana of Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, reported her findings about the diverse patterns of library and information services in rural communities in Thailand. She tied the patterns to information policies and needs in Thailand and concluded with recommendations for improving and promoting the existing services.
"National Award Books as Quality Information Resources in Thailand" was the topic discussed by Supannee Varatorn of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. She analyzed the importance of book contests and book awards in Thailand, especially the National Book Awards. In her summary, she suggested ways of improving book promotion and production in Thailand and ways that the value of the National Book Awards could be enhanced.
Somsong Saengkaeo of the National Library of Thailand effectively used slides and humor in presenting her paper on "Reading Habit Promotion in ASEAN Libraries." Her discussion focused on successful projects from several different libraries, often developed with the cooperation of local institutes and organizations.
For copies of the three papers presented at the Section on Reading programme in Bangkok, contact John Y. Cole, Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20540-4920, fax: 202-707-0269, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
STANDING COMMITTEE MEETS TWICE IN BANGKOK; ACTION PLAN FOR 2000-2001 UPDATED AND REVISEDThe first meeting of the Standing Committee of the Section on Reading took place on 21 August 1999. Present were the chair, John Y. Cole, U.S.; Adele Fasick, U.S., secretary-treasurer; Gwynneth Evans, Canada; Shirley Fitzgibbons, U.S.; Ivar Haug, Norway; Eugenia Kefallineu, Greece; Catherina Stenberg, Sweden; Shirley Tastad, U.S.; Carmen Gomez Valera, Spain; and Maria A. Vedenyapina, Russia. Regrets were sent by Valeria Stalmakh. Observers were Alice Buglogosi, Kenya; Beute Knudsen, Sweden; Martha Petillo-Siv, U.S.; and Samsong Sangkeo, Thailand.
Following the approval of the minutes of the Amsterdam meeting and the report of the secretary-treasurer, the chair presented his report. He emphasized the need to increase the Section's membership. During the past year, the Section has increased its membership from 47 to 63. He also introduced and distributed the Section's new informational brochure and urged committee members and guests to distribute it as widely as possible.
Several Section members reported on their activities, recent and forthcoming. Ivar Haug described the recent European Conference on Reading (see elsewhere in this issue). He also said that Norway will be hosting a major conference in May 2001 on "Getting Children to Read," and urged participation of members of the Section on Reading and other IFLA Sections. Catharina Stenberg reported on a meeting in Paris at which she described the work of the Swedish School of Library and Information Science in research and the teaching of reading. Shirley Fitzgibbons urged members to contribute to the "Research on Reading" column in the Section's Newsletter. Carmen Gomez Valera described two Spanish reading development projects of possible interest to Section members. Adele Fasick said she would be participating in the post-conference seminar on reading services to children in developing countries sponsored by the Children's Section.
Maria Vedenyapina reported on the Pushkin Project, supplementing and updating information which appeared in issue no. 8 (August 1999, p. 5) of the Section on Reading's Newsletter. The Section is now supporting and publicizing the project, which supplies Russian libraries with new books published in all fields by Russian publishers. More than 5000 Russian libraries are now involved. Further information, she noted, was available during the conference at the exhibition booth sponsored by the Open Society (Soros Foundation), the project's sponsor.
Adele Fasick reported on the Books for All project and John Cole gave an update on the celebration of both World Book and Copyright Day (April 23) and International Literacy Day (Sept. 8).
The chair reported that the IFLA Literacy Working Group's final report was going to be presented during the week and then sent by the Professional Board to the Section on Reading for whatever action we deemed appropriate. In particular, it was important to blend any actions into the Section's current Action Plan. After discussion, plans were tentatively made for two programs about literacy at the Jerusalem meeting in 2000: an all-day workshop about library-based programs that promoted . literacy and an open session about reading research and evaluation studies that would emphasize literacy. Contributions, particularly for the workshop, will be solicited from all parts of the world. (see Call for Presentations on page 2). The goal would be to eventually produce guidelines for library-based literacy projects.
The second meeting of the Standing Committee was held on 27 August. John Cole was unable to attend and Adele Fasick presided as chair. Committee members present were: Gwynneth Evans, who served as secretary; Shirley Fitzgibbons, Ivar Haug, Eugenia Kefallineu, Catharina Stenberg, Carmen Gomez Valera, Shirley Tastad, and Gertrude Kayaga Mulindwa (corresponding member). Observers included Martha Pattillo-Siv, Samsong Sangkeo, Irene Sever, Schmuel Sever, and Supannee Varatorn.
Using a copy of the Action Plan printed in the Section on Reading Newsletter No. 7 (November 1998), the chair led members through the Action Plan and suggested changes for the years 2000-2001 for discussion and approval. The changes are incorporated into the Action Plan for 2000-2001.
Following the discussion and revision of the Action Plan, members of the committee and volunteers took on the responsibility for translating the Section's new informational brochure into the official IFLA languages and into other languages as well. Commitments were made as follows: Spanish - Carmen Gomez Valera; Russian - Irene Sever; French- Catharina Stenberg will contact Martine Poulain; Hebrew and Arabic (for the Jerusalem conference)- Irene Sever; Swedish - Catharina Stenberg; Greek - Eugenia Kefallineu; Norwegian - Ivar Haug will speak to his colleagues.
Ms. Fasick announced that the listserv for IFLA Division 7, Education and Research, would now be open to all Standing Committee meetings. She urged members to subscribe, and provided the following information:
TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LISTSERV FOR IFLA DIVISION 7Members should send an e-mail to the following address: LISTSERV@INFOSERV.NLC-BNC.CA . In the body of the message, members should type: Subscribe DIV-VII-L [YourFirstName] [YourLastName]. To post message to the list, send an e-mail to: DIV-VII-L@INFOSERV.NLC-BNC.CA
In a discussion about the proposed literacy program in Jerusalem, the chair explained that the budget is allocated to IFLA Sections based on the number of Section members. There is a standard amount for administration. Fortunately, the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress is subsidizing some of the Section on Reading's activities, including the printing of the new leaflet. Regarding the translation of the informational brochure, she assured members that John Cole would send a letter of appreciation to volunteers who took on the translation task.
About 1000 guilders will be available for the workshop in Jerusalem. It was decided that 200 guilders would be used for communication and postage; 400 guilders for materials and hand-outs; and 400 guilders for a summary of the presentations. Outlines or summaries of the discussions (about two pages) would be prepared. It was moved by Shirley Fitzgibbon and seconded by Shirley Tastad that these summaries of presentations/discussion be published. All agreed.
In discussing the content of the Jerusalem workshop, it was agreed that the focus would be on specific projects related to libraries and literacy and all were invited to try to find appropriate project leaders to encourage them to submit a proposal. Emphasis would be placed as much as possible on the developing world. There also will be a program on evaluation research that will emphasize literacy programs. Specific suggestions for papers for both sessions should be submitted by 15 December. A "Call for Papers" will also be sent through the usual channels. It was recognized that speakers would need to support their own travel. Section members also could assist speakers from developing countries identify sources of potential funding.
Individuals involved in developing and submitting the final report of the IFLA Literacy Working Group on Literacy asked about follow-up to the report. Adele Fasick replied that if there were opportunities to follow up they would be taken, but, at the moment, there was no funding available to carry on work on specific Working Group proposals. However, the Section on Reading would respond generally by focusing attention over the next two years on projects that relate to the role of libraries and literacy in all sectors of the community. The title of the workshop in Jerusalem, for example, would be "Library-Based Programs for Promoting Literacy."
Catharina Stenberg encouraged the group to look at broad issues of literary policy and the promotion of reading, and not just the problems of illiteracy and aliteracy. This suggestion was approved, recognizing that the emphasis in Jerusalem will be on libraries, literacy, and evaluation research of literacy programs.
Shirley Fitzgibbons distributed a general brochure about the IFLA conference in Boston in 2001 and discussed the themes and general plans. The Section on Reading expects to follow up on the Jerusalem conference by discussing, in Boston, guidelines for literacy programs in libraries. The Section is also considering the publishing of a bibliography on the evaluation of literacy programs that would include studies in the public domain that were currently available.
(Adele Fasick and Gwynneth Evans)
SECTION ON READING ACTION PLAN 2000-2001Goal 1. To assume a leadership role in outlining strategies for international campaigns that support reading development.
1.2 To work, through IFLANET and with links to other Web sites, to serve as a clearinghouse for information about literacy promotion and research projects and their organizational sponsors.
Goal 2. To monitor and promote the dissemination of knowledge and research about reading, literacy, readers, and library patrons.
2.2 To continue and to expand a feature in the Section on Reading Newsletter that provides abstracts of recent research about reading and literacy.
Goal 3. To promote among librarians, educators, and other cultural agents a better understanding of reading promotion, reading patterns, and literacy problems.
3.2 To participate, with the IFLA Library History Round Table and the IFLA National Library Section, in "National Libraries: Interpreting the Past, Shaping the Future," a conference on 23-26 October, 2000, at the Library of Congress.
Goal 4. To explore various ways of promoting reading and literacy in specific cultural milieus.
4.2 To develop and publicize guidelines for literacy programs in libraries.
4.3 To provide publicity and support for the Soros Foundation/Open Society's Pushkin Library Project and related initiatives.
Goal 5. To emphasize the role of reading in children's development and to outline various approaches and methods that have been used to promote reading to children in different countries.
5.2 To provide advice and publicity for the UNESCO-coordinated "Reading for All" international reading and library promotion project.
Goal 6. To promote membership in the Section on Reading in order to increase its effectiveness.
6.2 To translate the informational brochure about the Section on Reading into all of IFLA's official languages.
SUPPORTING READING AND LIBRARIES FOR CHILDREN IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES DISCUSSED AT BANGKOK POST-CONFERENCE SEMINAR.Informal programs to support reading and libraries for children in developing countries were the focus of a four-day post-conference seminar held in Bangkok, Thailand from 30 August to 2 September 1999. The seminar was sponsored by IFLA's Section on Library Services to Children and Young Adults and was held at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok. The meeting brought together librarians and educators from Albania, Botswana, Cambodia, France, Greece, Haiti, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nicaragua, Senegal, Thailand, the U.K., the U.S. and Zimbabwe.
Professor Kingo Mchombu of the University of Namibia was the plenary speaker. His talk outlined the difficulties of strengthening reading behavior of poverty-stricken children in Africa. One of the problems Africans face in encouraging reading is the lack of materials in local languages. Children's trade books are not considered economically viable, so very few are published. Publishers prefer to produce the more profitable textbooks. To solve the problem of children's access to appropriate reading materials three conditions must be met: the underlying issues of poverty must be addressed; libraries and community information centers must be strengthened; and all of the participants in the publishing process-writers, librarians, publishers, government-must work together.
Other speakers echoed many of Professor Mchombu's concerns. Miriam Bamhare, executive director of the Zimbabwe Book Development Council, spoke about the reluctance of publishers to produce the work of local writers. Eduardo Baez, director of Libros para Ninos in Nicaragua, described that organization's work in encouraging reading in Nicaragua, especially among the street children of Managua. Like African countries, Nicaragua suffers from a lack of indigenous publishing. Only about 30 to 50 books are published each year, and of these only four or five are children's books. Most libraries do not stock books for children; public libraries have become school libraries and are used mainly for homework. Imported programs from developed countries are often unsuitable to the community. What is needed is local action to provide reading and library programs that are relevant and sustainable.
Other programs described at the seminar covered the globe from Albania to Zimbabwe. Sothik Hok, coordinator of the "Libraries for Children" program in Cambodia, described how his organization has coped with a critical lack of books. War wiped out the publishing industry in Cambodia and left the country with virtually no books in Khmer. There is no public library network, no libraries in schools, and no municipal or provincial libraries. As recently as three years ago there were no textbooks available, and no supplementary reading books. Children saw no reason to learn to read. "Libraries for Children" (known as SIPAR, a French NGO) provides basic training for teachers who administer small libraries situated in rural primary schools. Each collection has about 500 books, most of them imported from France. These books are translated into Khmer and the translations pasted into the books and over the French text. SIPAR hopes this project will encourage reading and that after 2002, when the project ends, the libraries will be sustainable from local sources.
The Section on Reading was represented by this writer, whose paper dealt with the problem of providing reading services to indigenous children in Arctic Canada. The dearth of reading materials in the local languages, the difficulty of transporting books in a region without roads, and the lack of trained personnel are all problems.
Somboon Singkhamanan of the Department of Library Science at Srinakharinwirot University, one of the seminar organizers, described the publishing scene in Thailand and introduced Thai picture books into the discussion. She gave a demonstration of the portable libraries that have been used to provide books for rural children. At the close of the seminar, portable libraries were presented to several representatives of developing countries.
On the day after the close of the formal seminar sessions, participants were taken on a tour to Pattaya, a seaside city near Bangkok. There the group met with local teachers and observed demonstrations of reading animation and the use of the portable libraries. Visits were made to a local orphanage, schools, and a community center for street children. At all of these places participants could see examples of the way in which books were introduced to children.
After the formal papers were presented, Judith Elkin, dean of the Faculty of Computing, Information, and English at the University of Central England in Birmingham, led a session to develop guidelines for successful informal programs. The topics covered were education and training; relationships with libraries, schools, and other institutions; books and services offered; the role of librarians; and useful strategies. A publication based on the results of the seminar is planned for 2000.
FINAL REPORT OF IFLA LITERACY WORKING GROUP SUBMITTED AT BANGKOK CONFERENCEAs mentioned elsewhere in this Newsletter, the Section on Reading is planning a workshop on "Library-Based Programs to Promote Literacy" at the Jerusalem conference in 2000. The workshop is a first step in following up on the interest expressed by many IFLA members in recent years in literacy and in a more active IFLA role in literacy and literacy promotion. This interest is outlined in the final report of IFLA Literacy Working Group, which was submitted to the IFLA Professional Board at the Bangkok conference (PB-DOC.99-84). The report also was presented and discussed at an open meeting in Bangkok on 23 August. A summary of the Working Group's activities and of its recommendations is presented below.
The Literacy Working Group held its organizational meeting at the IFLA conference in Beijing in 1996. It was charged by the Professional Board (PB Doc 95-111) to propose a policy and specific course of action by IFLA, over the long run, to support the promotion of literacy and the development of reading skills through libraries, including support for literacy among young people and people with disabilities and to support the "right to know." Several members of the Working Group met at The Hague in March 1997, and the group was reorganized. Irene Sever volunteered to be chair and Martin Kesselman volunteered to be secretary. It was agreed to undertake an international survey "to determine the current state of affairs of libraries and literacy and to have some baseline data on where we are today." The questionnaire was reviewed at the conference in Copenhagen in 1997, and in March 1998 the Professional Board approved additional funding to support the distribution and subsequent analysis of the questionnaire. At the 1998 Amsterdam conference the goal of the survey was changed: it was to become "a worldwide snapshot of the role libraries and library associations play with literacy programs rather than a country by country analysis." A progress report/financial report was made to the Professional Board in October 1998, and a market research consultant was contracted to help with the analysis of the survey results.
Based on its discussions, its review of IFLA activities and documents and the survey results, the Working Group made six major recommendations in its final report: 1) IFLA must advocate the major role libraries play in the promotion of literacy; 2) IFLA needs to continue to develop guidelines for libraries in promoting literacy activities; 3) IFLA should serve as a clearinghouse for literacy programs in libraries; 4) IFLA should provide leadership in the development and provision of continuing education and training manuals for libraries and, where needed, translations of these into various languages; 5) IFLA should serve as a major communications channel for literacy programs in libraries; and 6) IFLA should have a major role in focusing research on libraries and literacy.
In order for IFLA to begin carrying out these recommendations, the Working Group recommended "that IFLA request funding by UNESCO for a full-time Literacy Officer for Libraries for a trial period of two to three years." The officer would work closely with a number of IFLA Standing Committees and other organizations, developing grants and project proposals. After a period of two years, "this position should be evaluated and at that time the need for a permanent Literacy Officer, the establishment of a new core program or the designation of literacy activities within another core program should be re-examined."
The report concludes: "This report should not be viewed as a closed book but rather as an opening. Literacy is an issue that touches all parts of our lives and is of concern to all libraries worldwide. Reading and its promotion as well as information seeking skills are and will continue to be critical skills for lifelong learning. A major thrust for literacy programs by IFLA and by libraries, with assistance and leadership from IFLA, can be a major catalyst for global change and have a positive impact on many levels-education, health, and social and economic vitality."
The final report was prepared by Martin Kesselman, Working Group secretary, and Dennis Blyth, consultant, Motive Research, on behalf of the IFLA Literacy Working Group. Working Group members were: Birgitta Bergdahl, ALP, Uppsala University, Sweden; Francoise Danset, Bibliotheque Centrale de Pret du Val d'Oise, France; Blanca Hodge, Phillipsburg Jubilee Library, Netherlands Antilles; Kay Raseroka, University Library of Botswana, Botswana; Gloria Rodriguez, Biblioteca Comfenalco, Colombia; Brigitta Sandall, ALP, Uppsala University, Sweden; Irene Sever, University of Haifa, Israel (chair); Valeria Stelmakh, Russian State Library, Russia; Maria Lao Sunthara, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand; and Bror Tronbacke, Swedish Easy to Read Foundation, Sweden.
INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY CELEBRATED ON 8 SEPTEMBER.Section on Reading chair John Y. Cole was one of the speakers on 8 September at an expanded celebration of International Literacy Day, held in the World Bank's Main Complex Atrium in downtown Washington, D. C. Sponsored by the International Reading Association, the World Bank, and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the event featured exhibitions by organizations that promote literacy internationally, six brief presentations, and a reception. Winners of the 1999 International Literacy Awards also were announced. The Section on Reading's new informational brochure and recent issues of its Newsletter were distributed in the exhibits area.
Participants were greeted by World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn, who emphasized the World Bank's interest in promoting education and literacy and in reducing poverty. He also announced that the World Bank, on this occasion, was launching a new "Education Sector Strategy."
In addition to Cole, the speakers were: Eduardo Doryan, vice president and head of the World Bank's Human Development Network, who provided details about the World Bank's new Education Sector Strategy; Carol M. Santa, president of the International Reading Association, who announced that the 1999 IRA Literacy Award was going to the Family Literacy Program of the Basic Skills Agency in the United Kingdom; Elaine Furniss, senior education advisor, UNICEF; and Veena Siddharth, global policy director, Oxfam International.
11TH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON READING IS HELD IN NORWAY.Two representatives from the Section on Reading, Ivar Haug of Norway and Jadwiga Kolodzyejska of Poland, participated in the 11th European Conference on Reading, which was held in Stavanger, Norway on 1-4 August, 1999. The Norwegian Reading Association hosted the conference, which was organized by the International Reading Associations's International Development in Europe Committee, chaired by Gregg Brooks. The theme, "Literacy-Challenges for the New Millennium," reflected the whole range of interests and efforts that can be gathered under the concept of reading, including research, teaching, writing, reading and literacy promotion, libraries, and publishing. More than 250 people took part in the conference.
In his opening remarks, conference chair Professor Ingolv Austad took note of the wide range of attendees: "We welcome researchers, teachers, teacher educators, special education consultants, librarians, writers, and publishers." This meeting, which had a sub theme of "Reading and Libraries," attracted more librarians than previous meetings. Jadwiga Kolodzyejska chaired a popular workshop on "Books and the Library in General." There also was a workshop on "Books and Libraries in Croatia," and other presentations concerning public libraries. Literature for youth was another sub theme. Mirjam Morad of Literaturhaus in Austria attracted attention by bringing five teenagers with her to take part in her presentation on organizing book discussion groups for young adults. In addition, there were talks on promoting award-winning children's books, children's literature in Europe, and ways of using children's literature to teach reading strategies.
The next European Conference on Reading will take place in Dublin, Ireland, in July 2001.
SECTION ON READING ON IFLANETMembers of the Section on Reading and others interested in the Section's work can find current information about the Section on IFLANET, the official IFLA Web site at http://archive.ifla.org/ . The easiest way to find basic information is to go to the IFLA home page and click on "Sections." The Section on Reading is number 33, and a click on that item will bring you to the information about goals, projects, publications, and program of the Section.
CURRENT RESEARCH IN LITERACY AND READINGThis section contains selected abstracts and descriptions of current research in the fields of reading and literacy and related fields. It also will appear with other Sections on Reading news on IFLANET.
DEATH OF PAMELA SPENCE RICHARDS LAMENTED; PAPERS FROM PARIS CONFERENCE TO BE PUBLISHED AS A TRIBUTE.The Section on Reading joins members of the Round Table on Library History and the Division on Education and Research in mourning the death of our IFLA colleague Pamela Spence Richards, chair of the Round Table on Library History. After a difficult struggle of more than a year with cancer, Pam died on 20 September, 1999. She is remembered as a vibrant and enthusiastic advocate of library history and of international cooperation and exchange of people, information, and especially of ideas. Plans are underway to continue her most recent IFLA project, an international survey of the history of libraries.
In recent years Pam, with help from her Section on Reading colleagues Valeria Stelmakh, Martine Poulain, and others, conceived and organized two important and successful conferences: "Libraries and Reading in Times of Cultural Change," in Vologda, Russia on 19-21 June 1996, and "Libraries, Reading, and Publishing in the Cold War, in Paris, France on 11-12 June 1998. She edited the English language version of the papers from the Vologda conference, which were published in the Winter 1998 issue of the journal Libraries & Culture. (See the July 1998, no. 6, issue of the Section on Reading Newsletter for further details) A plan has been developed to include the English language version of the papers from the Paris conference, edited by Hermina Anghelescu and Martine Poulain, in the Winter 2001 issue of Libraries & Culture.
In addition, I am pleased to announce that with the cooperation of Donald G. Davis, Jr., editor of Libraries & Culture and the new chair of the IFLA Round Table on Library History, in 2001 the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will republish the papers in a separate, indexed volume that will be a special tribute to Pam. It will be produced in cooperation with the IFLA Section on Reading, the IFLA Round Table on Library History, and the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association.
BOOKLET AVAILABLE ON LITERACY AND READING SERVICES TO CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC MINORITIES.The Section on Reading has prepared and distributed Literacy and Reading Services to Cultural and Linguistic Minorities, a 55-page booklet containing papers presented at its 1998 IFLA 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; and "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: email@example.com.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FEATURE: UNESCO AND EXPANDING PARTNERSHIPS FOR LITERACYThe United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has a long history of promoting literacy. In 1990, at the beginning of UNESCO's International Literacy Year, director-general Federico Mayor wrote that literacy, defined as "the ability to read and write," is the "absolute priority of UNESCO. Literacy goes to the very heart and soul of our organization, is part of its raison d'etre. It is central to the vision of a partnership of individuals, organizations, and governments promoting human welfare and understanding through the spread of knowledge."
A brief history of UNESCO's involvement with literacy can be found in the preface and introduction to the new UNESCO publication, The Pursuit of Literacy: Twelve Case-Studies of Award-Winning Programmes. In addition, UNESCO has issued a small pamphlet, I, that contains useful facts and information, including a world map that depicts "estimated adult illiteracy rates" for the year 2000. The brochure reflects the broadening of the definition of literacy beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic "to include many other skills and forms of expression." Mr. Mayor's International Literacy Day message for 8 September, 1999, reflects this expansion, going beyond what he expressed in 1990. His new statement emphasizes that targeting illiterates with "pure" literacy programmes is "not enough," that "a new understanding of literacy is needed." More specifically, "we have to promote the creation of literate societies that are culturally sensitive, where literacy is integrated in overall development efforts that are genuinely responsive to the demands of the learners and their communities."
Libraries (somehow) are not specifically mentioned in the new brochure. However one can make the case that more active library involvement in literacy promotion goes hand in hand with this new, extended concept of literacy, which connects literacy with learning, local communities, and society at large. This is the approach taken by the American Library Association (ALA) in its new brochure, 21st Century Literacy, which was described in the last issue (no. 8, August 1999) of this Newsletter. The ALA adds the need for "information literacy" to this mix before concluding that "Good libraries help create a literate public. A literate public demands good libraries."
The expanded definition of literacy also is bringing the World Bank more directly into educational activities, including literacy and literacy promotion. Not only is the World Bank helping sponsor International Literacy Day and developing a new educational strategy, it also is working directly with UNESCO, UNICEF, and others in addressing educational challenges of the decade ahead.
To conclude, here from the UNESCO brochure are "some principles" for "broadening the focus of literacy for the new millennium:" 1)[increase] dialogue with learners; 2) engage learners in identifying their development visions and real learning needs; 3) build on the potential of all learners and their communities; 4) build on local knowledge, language, culture and wisdom; 5) integrate programmes in overall development efforts; 6) optimize the use of old and new technologies; 7) conceptualize programmes as part of a learning continuum throughout life.
For the brochure and "comments and information," contact UNESCO Literacy and Non-formal Education Section, 7, Place de Fontenoy, 75007 Paris, France, tel. +33 1 45 68 10 09, fax +33 1 45 68 56 27, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
E-MAIL ADDRESSES FOR STANDING COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND PROJECT PARTICIPANTSJohn Y. Cole, USA., email@example.com
Adele M Fasick,, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Buglogosi, Kenya, email@example.com
Gwynneth Evans, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shirley Fitzgibbons,, USA, email@example.com
Ivar Haug, Norway, firstname.lastname@example.org
Martha Pattillo-Siv, USA, email@example.com
Irene Sever, Israel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shmuel Sever, Israel, email@example.com
Valeria Stelmakh, Russia firstname.lastname@example.org
Catharina Stenberg, Sweden, email@example.com
Shirley Tastad, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carmen Gomez Valera, Spain, email@example.com
Maria Vedenyapina, Russia, firstname.lastname@example.org
IFLA and Section on Reading Contact InformationContact 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 :
Secretary-Treasurer Adele M. Fasick,
Visit the Section on IFLANET at: http://archive.ifla.org/VII/s33/sr.htm
|Latest Revision: May 24, 2000||
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International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions