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The importance of reading with Luke

Reading is a vital part of life as an adult. Starting early in life ensures that when you grow up, you will have the gift of reading. One child who tells the story better than we ever can is Luke.

Luke Bakic-Pawlak is a young child who is 2018 was invited to hold a short speech on reading for kids at TedXyouth in Warsaw, Russia.
He gives us the perspective of a 9-year-old and how reading has opened many doors for him.

A must watch for every child and parent. See his video below.

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Meet-up and greet-up

About a week ago, we had a meet-up and greet-up in Botkyrka, and it was a hit straight away.

We had several institutions and library chiefs present. They all pulled their weight in sharing their view on building our future functional illiteracy, which we hope more European countries will connect with soon.

Opening up with some Swedish ”tipsrunda”

For those of you who weren’t present at this meetup, a ”tipsrunda” is a sort of quiz, you walk around and find these papers with numbers on them 1-10, and there are some questions with 3 different answers on them: 1 X 2.

But we wanted to make it a little more exciting and get everyone to relax. We were fortunate enough that Airboard Sverige lends us 5 airboards on which our contestants would ride around 5 at a time doing the quiz whilst the others had some welcoming snacks and mingled. Then we changed it up until everyone had made the quiz. The one with the best results would win a book, of course.

About the meeting

It started with our own guest speaker Agata Mölne who talked about our project, what we are trying to achieve with this site, and our missions. Afterward, we dove into some more interesting matters. Kristotoles talked about his story when he started as a librarian back in Greece in 1982 and how much has changed over the past years. It is a very entangling story full of memories and great tips to take with us back when we develop a new strategy for the next two years on increasing traction to our now 5 years old project.

We hope all you attended had a great time, and thank you for all the great ideas on building this even further.

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The ease of living when you can read

Some countries do not have the basics that we in the north and most of Europe have, and it is easy to forget how hard it is to fit in if you come from a country without education. Some immigrants coming to Sweden are placed outside of society, and it is much the effect of lack of school in their previous countries. By increasing the knowledge and the ability to read and write, not only in Swedish but also in English, they can learn and develop faster and become a part of their new home.

It’s a big change having to leave your home and start-up in a new place. But it gets even bigger when you have no prior education or lack the ability to write and read. The basics of interacting and if you can have a deeper knowledge of these things learning a new language, something that is important to be able to feel that you fit in and take your place becomes a much harder task to deal with. Therefore has Botkyrka in Sweden started these small workshops in able to get people to meet like-minded people who are in the same shoes. This has proven very effective both for educational purposes. They come from different countries and are forced to speak in another language to interact with each other. Also, it has proven to increase the phase at which they learn to read and write. We want to decrease the percentage of people who aren’t able to read and increase educational and knowledge levels across the entire society. You are welcome to accompany us on our workshops and can find more about them over at botkyrka.se.

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Apply for workshop participation!

Registration for the Workshop is now open! The last day to submit your application is 3 March 2014. A reply will be sent out on 2 April 2014.

Who can apply?

The Workshop is open to librarians and staff working in adult literacy from countries participating in the EU funded Lifelong Learning Programme. Librarians and other library workers are a prioritized group, especially those with earlier experience within adult literacy and/or with ambitions to initiate a program according to the workshop subjects.

The Workshop is free of charge for participants. Bibliotek Botkyrka is also responsible for travel and subsistence costs for participants from another country in Europe than Sweden, including hotel accommodation and two-way flight tickets to Stockholm.

How do I apply?

The provided link is to the application form for the Adult illiteracy and second language perspectives: Towards a public library collaboration in Europe.

To apply to the Workshop, please download the application form to your computer and fill it out. Print out the completed application and sign with your name at the assigned space. Scan the now signed and completed application form, and send it to us at functionilliteracy@botkyrka.se.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email with your query!

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The topic of the Workshop in Botkyrka

The majority of the functionally illiterate adults in Europe use the language of instruction – that is, the different official school systems’ languages – as their first language. However, changes in Europe’s demographic composition makes it increasingly important to discuss second language aspects of all literacy-related issues. To narrow down the scope, the Workshop in Botkyrka will have a second language approach to functional illiteracy. Its focus will be on library work related to basic literacy skills among adults with first languages other than the majority language in the country where they live. Special attention will be paid to literacy problems among adults that stem from a lack of professionally-led schooling during childhood.

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Literacy in Europe

In societies dominated by the written word, literacy is a fundamental requirement for all adult residents in modern Europe. Literacy skills are crucial to full participation in society. It is needed in parenting, finding and keeping a job, managing one´s health, and to be able to take advantage of digital developments. Yet a high number of adult Europeans do not have sufficient literacy skills. According to the EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy an estimated 20% of all adults in Europe is probable to lack the literacy skills needed to function fully in modern society. This means that an estimated 73 million European adults lack functional literacy. In their report from September 2012 [PDF], the expert group claims that Europe today faces a “literacy crisis”, and conclude with a call for collaborative action.

Towards a public library collaboration in Europe

Literacy is a foundation for most library activities, and the legitimacy and identity of the public library institutions in Europe are closely connected to the work European societies do for democratic development. Due to the fact that literacy is a question of democracy and democratization, it is obvious that the public libraries of Europe has a role to play in reducing functional illiteracy. It is stated in UNESCO Public Library Manifesto that one key mission for any public library is “supporting and participating in literacy activities and programmed for all age groups, and initiating such activities if necessary”.

Work to reduce illiteracy is already taking place in libraries across Europe. In a Europe facing a “literacy crisis” it is crucial to gather forces and intensify the work, with improved cooperation. To raise awareness and put functional illiteracy among adults more clearly on the agenda of European public libraries, it is an important step to create an European network of libraries and librarians on the topic.

Workshop in June 2014

With the purpose to create a network of public libraries and librarians on functional illiteracy among adults, a workshop is held in Botkyrka, Sweden, in June 2014. The workshop is called Adult illiteracy and second language perspectives: Toward a public library collaboration in Europe. The Workshop will combine theoretical seminars, presentations of literacy projects, and creative workshops on public library work and librarians roles and competencies regarding functional illiteracy among adults.