Monday, August 22, 2011

Musings on Literacy

Just a quick post with some thoughts I've been mulling over the past few days. Recently, I came across the wonderful project Little Free Library, which has gotten quite a bit of press. I'm loving the idea, the execution, and most importantly, the purpose.

Seriously. Who wouldn't love to have a cute little library just waiting to be discovered somewhere right around the corner? It kind of makes me want to start one here in town... It would be such a great idea for parks, hospitals, nursing homes, doctor's office waiting rooms.... you name it. What other places can we think of to include these Little Free Libraries?

Literacy is such a huge issue in the world, even today.  Unfortunately, it seems that our society takes literacy for granted these days, often ignoring the needs of those not quite as literate. Yet literacy has not been forgotten by all. This project is just one example of how people are promoting good in their communities and encouraging others to pay it forward.

There has been quite a bit of debate in the LIS circles of recent as to the definition of literacy. Does literacy only include the ability to read and write these days? Or does it go further, grasping deeper concepts upon which our society has become dependent- namely technology and the internet? I personally know many people who are afraid of losing their job because the technology skills required have changed so drastically from when they entered their professional field. These days, social media plays a huge role in marketing, networking, and just plain communication. Many people argue that the true definition of literacy is that of computer (and technology) literacy. And while that is true considering how technologically dependent our society has become, let us not forget those who are still illiterate in the traditional sense of the word. Let us not forget those who still struggle to read, comprehend, and express their thoughts through the written word. Let us not forget the purpose behind the Little Free Library.

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