For Everyone, Everywhere, at Every Age: Libraries and Adult Literacy
To mark International Literacy Day 2019, IFLA has released a new article focusing on the role of libraries around the world in promoting youth and adult literacy, in particular in those countries engaged in the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL).
With three quarters of a billion adults around the world lacking even basic literacy skills, we remain a long way from achieving the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals.
A failure to act can have real costs in terms of poor economic, social and cultural integration, not only for the individuals concerned, but also for their children.
Libraries’ existing role in supporting literacy in general has given them extensive experience of helping youth and adults, in particular those from groups at risk of marginalisation. The ability of libraries to take less formal approaches, adapted to the needs of communities and individuals, makes them important partners in any comprehensive literacy strategy.
As the Article argues, countries engaged in the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL), which is coordinated on behalf of UNESCO by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, should look to realise the potential of their libraries. Incorporating them into national policies and strategies offers a key means of doing this.