World Literacy Day: An Opportunity to Promote Reading

Articles
  • Reading Promotion Campaign 2018
  • ‘Promoting reading & celebrating International Literacy Day’

On November 17, 1965, UNESCO declared September 8 International Literacy Day to promote literacy across the world. This year, literacy day was celebrated under the theme “Literacy and skills development” in many parts of the world. Literacy refers to the ability to understand, communicate, and gain useful knowledge. Reading is a key to literacy because it helps us improve our communication and language skills. In addition, reading makes us develop a broader vocabulary and increase our general knowledge. In an age abundant with information, reading is the only way to become informed. Moreover, reading is important because it helps to expand the mind and develops the imagination.

This year, International Literacy Day saw library partners across Africa, supported by Book Aid International, arrange a one-day reading promotion campaign. The campaign was conducted for the following purposes:

1. Promote the work of libraries and their contribution to education and development.

2. Promote the culture of reading in societies.

3. Promote government support to the library sector and publishing industry in the country.

In Eritrea, the International Literacy Day celebrations and reading promotion campaign we conducted between the September 8 and 13 in community and special libraries of Keren, Asmara, and Debarwa, as well as in the libraries of Tsetserat and Hazhaz prison and rehabilitation centres.

In accordance with the reading promotion campaign initiated by Book Aid International, the Library and Information Association of Eritrea (LIAE) celebrated the day with various programs. General knowledge and debating competitions, seminars and discussions emphasizing the importance of reading, and experience-sharing programs were conducted.

During the events, LIAE distributed over 300 books donated by Book Aid International to some libraries in order to enrich their collections. The campaign was intended to celebrate reading with local communities and engage community members in a conversation about the importance of reading. It also helped raise the profile of the library sector and the local publishing industry as key stakeholders in supporting education, as well as accrediting the role of Book Aid International and other library partners as promoters of reading and education.

Library and Information Association of Eritrea (LIAE) and its objectives

The Library and Information Association of Eritrea - (LIAE) is an independent Association of professionals dedicated to promote library and information services in Eritrea so that every Eritrean gets knowledge and information easily. The association was established in 2000 with the following objectives:

1. To facilitate the existing libraries and archive institutions by

• Providing up-to-date sources of information (hard-copies, electronic books, and materials with video and audio formats).

• Providing professional support, training and consultancy services on information, library, records and archives management systems.

• Preparing guidelines and standards for all information, library, and archive services.

• Creating linkages between the libraries and archive institutions of Eritrea and those of the outside world to share experiences.

• Encouraging the establishment of new Libraries and information centres.

2. To cultivate and enhance the culture of reading in the Eritrean society by

• Making books available and easily accessible for all.

• Raising public awareness about the importance of reading.

• Encouraging and supporting book clubs in schools and other institutions.

3. Improve the library and archive profession in Eritrea by

• Banding together professionals working in library and archive services.

• Upgrading the skills of librarians and archivists.

A message from the Library and Information Association of Eritrea regarding the promotion of reading in Eritrea.

1. Parents’ role:

Parents are the most important educators in a child’s life. They can support reading by children through the following key strategies:

• Scheduling reading time every day.

• Reading with the child.

• Reading for the child.

• Encouraging children to read aloud.

• Buying books for children.

• Establishing a home library and making books available and easily accessible.

• Taking children to libraries and helping to keep them interested in books and libraries.

2. Teachers’ role:

Reading is an essential skill children must learn in order to become successful at school.

Teachers can play an important role in encouraging children to read by organizing reading sessions and establishing reading clubs.

3. Publication of books should be promoted and sold at an affordable price.

4. Resources must increasingly be invested for the promotion of reading culture in the society.