Monthly Archives: July 2016

International Workshop on Libraries and Literacy

As part of its efforts to assist countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) convened an international workshop on ‘How Libraries Support National Literacy Efforts’ from 5 – 6 April 2016 to explore how countries can best use their library systems to improve literacy outcomes.

Download: How Libraries Support National Literacy Efforts: Workshop Report (17 pages)

Twenty-eight participants from all world regions, including library representatives and literacy stakeholders from the government and civil society sectors, discussed ways in which countries can harness the potential of public and community library systems by integrating their literacy activities with national literacy efforts and strategies at local and national levels. Good practice examples from around the world showed that often libraries have the long-standing trust of communities and are well positioned to provide a wide variety of literacy opportunities, including intergenerational and family literacy activities, that reach out to children, youth and adults.

Participants emphasized that in order for libraries to fully meet their role as literacy resources, governments need to include them in the dialogue for the creation of national literacy plans, alongside other literacy stakeholders. Further, resources need to be catalyzed to assess the existing situation of libraries in the region in order to tailor services to beneficiaries’ literacy needs, provide staff with relevant training opportunities, and promote libraries as safe places for people to develop literacy skills to their fullest potential.

To provide participants with sufficient background knowledge, the workshop addressed the following topics:

·         How libraries in different countries are currently addressing literacy challenges

·         How government policies can be adapted to promote the inclusion and use of libraries

·         How libraries can effectively mobilize communities around reading

·         How countries can maximize existing literacy activities in libraries in order to reach their literacy goals

The workshop was organized by the UIL Library and members of the Literacy and Basic Skills team of UIL, in partnership with IREX / Beyond Access.


Policy Recommendations

During the workshop participants developed eleven recommendations on how governments could empower libraries to serve as national literacy assets. These recommendations were condensed after the workshop into the following five policy recommendations that will be used in an upcoming policy brief on the workshop topic:


o   Involve libraries in the policy dialogue surrounding literacy and ensure that libraries are an integral part of local and national literacy strategies and efforts.

o   Enable libraries to provide a literate environment for everyone to develop, enhance and sustain literacy skills within a lifelong learning perspective.

o   Ensure libraries are inclusive and have the knowledge and resources to provide relevant literacy materials in a welcoming space for marginalized, vulnerable and minority language groups.

o   Institutionalize professionalization and invest in ongoing training for all library staff.

o   Collect and analyze the data provided by libraries for better informed policy-making and coordination of the various literacy efforts of different stakeholders.


To comment or question, contact Lisa Krolak,

UIL Library Head, Feldbrunnenstr. 69, 20148 Hamburg, Germany

Tel. ++49 (0)40 44 80 41 33 / Fax ++49 (0) 40 4107723

Skype for business:


New award supports the joy of reading

Being able to read opens many doors in life – just like not being able to read and write closes many doors. The $10,000 Systematic – Joy of Reading Award supports innovative projects that promote the joy of reading.

      Illiteracy is a global problem. The Systematic – Joy of Reading Award, worth $10,000, is awarded to projects that promote the joy of reading and fight illiteracy. People with passion can make a difference to people challenged by illiteracy, and Systematic wishes to support fighting this global challenge. We want to support projects and initiatives that help people to learn to read – even if their local community does not provide adequate support.

 Goals in life

      Being able to read opens many doors in life and the joy of reading is probably the most important driver to secure that we become good readers. If the reading ability is not obtained a number of doors leading to desirable goals will remain closed or at least very difficult to open. In the UN 2030 Agenda, to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning are important goals.

      “Together with Systematic we look forward to seeing the different ways reading can be elevated into people’s lives.” Rolf Hapel, Director, Aarhus Public Libraries.  “Illiteracy is a global problem and the libraries and enthusiasts play a key role in supporting universal literacy with education, enlightenment and knowledge. We want to recognise organisations and projects that make a difference with innovative initiatives that encourage people to read and thereby meet the global challenge. It goes hand in hand with Systematics’ aim to make a difference within the society.” Michael Holm, founder and CEO of Systematic.

The award

      The award is established by the IT-company Systematic in collaboration with Next Library.  An international jury will assess the incoming applications and choose the nominees and winner. The winner will be invited to Next Library 11-14 June 2017, in Aarhus, Denmark, to receive the prize and present the winning project. HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, founder of the Reading and Writing Foundation, will hand over the Award. Next Library is an international gathering of forward-thinking library professionals, innovators and decision-makers who are pushing boundaries to support learning.  For more information, please visit:

 Winning criteria

•   Joy of reading has to be an important part of the initiative

•   The effect of the initiative has to be documented – e.g. by number of people reached, level of reading and documentation by either case stories or research

•   The initiative must make use of innovative methods and/or thinking

•   The initiative has to be up and running for at least two years

For more information, please contact Rolf Hapel ( or Martin Brøchner-Mortensen (

 About Systematic Group

     Systematic A/S, established in 1985, develops software and system solutions to customers in both the public and private sector.  Today, the company is the largest privately owned software company in Denmark with solutions sold to customers in 47 countries. More than 100,000 people worldwide use Systematics products. The company has 525+ employees and is headquartered in Aarhus with offices in Copenhagen, Germany, USA, UK, France, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, United, Arab Emirates, Finland and Sweden.

About Next Library

     A NEXT LIBRARY® event is an international gathering of forward-thinking library professionals, innovators and decision-makers who are pushing boundaries and making changes that support learning in the 21st century. Created by Denmark’s Aarhus Public Libraries and first presented in 2009, the purpose of a NEXT LIBRARY® event is to look ahead and explore the continuously evolving nature of the public library in the 21st century.  NEXT LIBRARY® is more than a conference; it is a community that has grown to nearly 940 library leaders and innovators from around the world. The NEXT LIBRARY® global kaleidoscope includes Australia, Austria, Bhutan, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Columbia, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, New Zealand, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uganda, UK, Ukraine, USA and Vietnam.