Tag Archives: literacy

Public Libraries Play an Essential role in Literacy and Reading outcomes

IFLA has recently published the IFLA Toolkit for Library Engagement in Literacy and Reading Strategies to help library associations, institutions and individual library and information workers to advocate for libraries’ role in literacy and reading in relevant government strategy documents.  In Victoria, Australia a collaboration between State Library of Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria also developed a strategic framework Reading and Literacy for all 2015-2018 that drove a substantial body of work across all Victorian Public Libraries to improve capability and deliver of early years literacy and adult literacy services. This first framework was a major collaborative effort that was a culmination of wide and deep conversation across the library sector and involved other stakeholders who deliver literacy services and included the Department of Education and Training.  This ensured that there was a strong sense of ownership and commitment from all libraries across Victoria to the body of work that came from that original framework.

Initiatives and outcomes from this original framework included:

  • Development of quality indicators for early years literacy programs
  • Multiple assessments of each library service against the early years literacy programs indicators
  • Training and a toolkit for staff delivering early years literacy programs to help lift the standard and make it consistent across the state Let’s Read!
  • Professional development to encourage and support public libraries to be more active in delivering adult literacy initiatives
  • A best practice guide for adult literacy services which can be used as an advocacy document setting out the roles and achievements of public libraries in this area.
  • The Adult Literacy Innovation Program, providing grants to individual library services over three years to deliver innovative partnership programs in the adult literacy space. Examples include Moreland’s Word Play family literacy initiative and Yarra Plenty Regional Library’s pilot of the Volunteer-led literacy program for new migrants and refugees.

The strategic outcome from this body of work across the State of Victoria was the building of real evidence establishing libraries as essential for delivering literacy and language outcomes for adults, families and children.  The report on this major body of work can be found here.

However, Victorian libraries’ work in literacy is not at an end.  High levels of literacy are required for many of the complex jobs that are developing in this new digital economy as significant change in people’s work continues at a fast pace.

State Library of Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria have continued their collaboration and developed a new revised Reading and Literacy for all: A strategic framework for Victorian Public Libraries 2019- 2023 to inform the next four years of collaborative endeavour for Public Libraries across the state of Victoria.

These strategic documents are important advocacy tools to ensure that literacy, reading and libraries remain on the government agenda and Victorian Libraries in Australia are a great example of how to use this strategic work to amplify this message.

The IFLA Public Libraries Section is also highlighting reading in the satellite conference to be held in Oxford, United Kingdom on 12th and 13th August 2020.  Partnering with the IFLA Literacy and Reading Section, IFLA Metropolitan Libraries Section and IFLA Libraries for Children and Young People we will be presenting Reading Journeys, exploring personal reading choices for adults and children, the learning to read journey, the research into influences that make a difference to our reading journeys and the creative journey from the perspective of authors.  So reading and literacy remains a major focus for IFLA in the coming year.  Keep watching this space for more information in the coming months and start planning to attend!

Jane Cowell, Chief Executive Officer, Yarra Plenty Regional Library, Australia




IFLA Little Library

IFLA Book Box

IFLA has announced that at this years World  Library and Information Congress.in Columbus they will host an IFLA Little Library with the slogan Leave a book – Take a book!

In many countries across the world, people have created mini-libraries, or street-libraries to share their books with their neighbours. You will have seen examples of these on our Facebook Page.

What better place than to have an international version of this than at the IFLA Congress!

So if you have finished your book and are looking for a new read, look for one of the ten red crates around the  congress center and take part in our book exchange. All languages are welcome! Help build a literacy-friendly IFLA WLIC! At the end of the Congress, any books still in the Little Libraries will be donated to charitable organisation.


Technology Engages Boys and Poorer Children to Read for Longer


CILIP’s Public and Mobile Libraries Group December Newsletter reported on the the National Literacy Trust’s second annual survey of parents and practitioners on Children’s early literacy practices at home and in early years settings. The report makes for very interesting reading.

The Report suggests that the latest survey data indicated that ‘technology may provide a route in to reading for children of lower socioeconomic status’. Children from poorer households were found to spend twice as long reading stories on a touch screen than from printed sources. Moreover, twice as many boys than girls claimed to read more stories on a touch screen than in print. It would appear that early theories about the advantages of digital technologies for engaging hard-to-reach readers are now supported by the statistics.

It is important to note however that the recommended approach is still, very much a blended one: ‘in general, young children are more likely to have above average vocabulary attainment if they look at or read both printed stories and stories on a touch screen’.


So much choice!


The IFLA Professional Committee has just released details of the approved programs for the 81st IFLA General Conference and Assembly in Cape Town next August.

The Public Libraries Section is partnering with:

  • Library Service for People with Special Needs to present Public Library Service to the Socially Isolated:  Homeless, Incarcerated, Mentally Ill 
  • Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning to present Learning across borders – a workshop
  • Information Technology to present Technology facilitating access to information : libraries supporting development

We’ll also be supporting our colleagues in MetLib and their session “No-one left behind”. Reading, information, digital, media literacies and curation for inclusion in large urban areas plus the great programs being developed by Libraries for Children and Young Adults, Literacy, Management and Marketing …

IFLA has reported that there were many submissions this year so it promises to be a full and exciting week.


Children eReading

The UK’s  National Literacy Trust has published a literature review summing up The Impact of eBooks on the Reading Motivation and Reading Skills of Children and Young People. In 2012, for the first time ever, the National Literacy Trust’s annual literacy survey reported that the number of children ‘reading on screen outside school outnumbered those reading in print’. This paper explores what such a dramatic shift in reading patterns means for young people’s literacy levels, by systematically reviewing the current thinking on the subject. The review addresses the negative concerns that screen reading detrimentally effects comprehension and recall, as well as the positive claims that eReading motivates typically reluctant readers  (such as boys or those from less advantaged backgrounds).

The paper pools together an intriguing and useful collection of easy to understand statistics on the matter, for example:
– Scholastic US research found that of children who had read an eBook, 26% of boys and 16% of girls said they were reading more books as a result.

  •  A 2012 study of 36 struggling readers at KS3 found ‘substantial gains in both accuracy and comprehension’ following an intervention involving both print and enhanced eBooks.
  • A 2013 study of 103 US high school students with dyslexia found that students offered texts on an iPod touch showed significantly improved reading speed and comprehension compared with reading on paper.