Libraries, Literacy & Learning in the 21st Century

American Libraries, August 2005 | Go to article overview

Libraries, Literacy & Learning in the 21st Century


When Andrew Carnegie set out to expand America's public library system, reading and writing were the basic literacy needs. The libraries he supported were built to help educate and prepare a generation of people, mostly new immigrants, to be productive citizens.

Today the ability to read and write is critical, and basic literacy skills extend far beyond what was needed 100 years, ago. Life in the 21st century demands that we have the ability to solve information problems, use many different media and understand cultural diversity. The phrase "21st century literacy" encompasses the array of complex skills people need to live, learn and work successfully in the digital age.

Today's technology-driven, information-rich society demands that lifelong learning become a way of life. Where better to learn new or refresh existing literacy skills than @ your library?

How librarians and library staff support 21st century literacy and individual learning may vary depending on the type of library and population served. But all libraries--public, school and academic--have a role to play in teaching these skills.

We hope that the resources in this 21st century literacy toolkit will serve to challenge, inspire and support your efforts as you rethink, retool and reinvent libraries and librarianship.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

In the last century librarians harnessed technology and transformed library services. In the 21st century, librarians must accept the challenge of helping all people develop the literacy skills they need to succeed in an increasingly complex information environment. It is no longer enough for librarians to be resource providers. We must expand and embrace our essential role as teachers and facilitators of learning.

Suggested next steps:

IN YOUR LIBRARY

* Engage staff, administrators and board members in defining the library's role as a 21st century literacy learning center and what is needed to make that happen.

* Make literacy in all forms for all ages and levels central to the mission of the library and its strategic plan.

* Institutionalize the library's commitment to literacy by dedicating staff and financial resources.

* Write position descriptions and job postings that reflect a vision and expectations for providing instructional services.

* Incorporate these expectations into performance reviews.

* Design and create library spaces to accomodate the library's instructional activities.

* Provide staff development opportunities to prepare staff at all levels for an expanded instructional role.

* Seek revenue sources to expand instructional programs, services and facilities.

* Include the library's role as a center for 21st century literacy in self-studies for re-accreditation.

IN YOUR COMMUNITY

* Learn more about education programs in the community and identify gaps that can be filled by library services from basic literacy to lifelong learning.

* Identify likely community partners and intersections between their goals and the library's ability to meet them.

* Network with other community education and literacy providers.

* Partner with other agencies and organizations to develop and promote the library as a learning center for diverse groups, such as seniors, immigrants and people with disabilities.

* Take a leadership position in an existing literacy coalition or establish a new literacy partnership in the community.

* Collaborate with public officials, the media, the business community, school administrators and trustees, faculty, students, parents and other stakeholders to develop a community-specific 21st century literacy initiative.

* Work with teachers/faculty to develop projects and curricula that position the library as central to teaching and learning.

* Promote community dialog on learning and literacy in the 21st century. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Libraries, Literacy & Learning in the 21st Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.