Towards a literate Australia: the role of public libraries in supporting reading

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The ability to function effectively in today's information society requires a high degree of literacy and a complexity of skills which is leaving some people behind. Yet in Australia one in five adults do not possess sufficient literacy skills to participate in everyday life. This causes problems for living, working and for survival. The resources, networks and advocacy potential of public libraries make them natural allies of the literacy movement. The Australian Library and Information Association in its 'Statement on libraries and literacy' not only endorses the role of public libraries in supporting literacy but sees it as a core function. It is now an opportune time to re examine that role and develop strategies for its future. The United Nation's Decade of literacy (2003-2012) presents a golden opportunity for public libraries to reassert their traditional role of supporting literacy as part of the lifelong learning agenda. Edited version of a paper presented at the Alia 2004 biennial conference Gold Coast Queensland
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-192
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Public Libraries and Information Services
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


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