Wednesday, 14 November 2012

National Year of Reading wrap up day

On Monday a group from PLS travelled to Canberra to participate in the National "wrap up" day for the National Year of Reading.
The value of the Year has been recognised by the Federal Government & has led to a partnership being announced by Minister Crean on the day. We don't entirely know what this partnership will look like, but we will hopefully be involved in shaping it.
The day was an opportunity to celebrate the success of the year, and also to consider what we take away for further action. 

The "founding partners" (15 organisations that put in the seed funding to kick off the year) aimed for 1,000 events across Australia for the year.   However there have been over 3,700 events identified with more still to come.  We were looking for additional government funding as well as public and private sector partners, and achieved funding and partnerships very successfully.  We were looking for real engagement by the library sector & this happened in spades. So on all of these measures it has been a very successful year. 

However we all know that the job is still not complete.  We're aiming to work towards having a literate, reading nation, but we know that 46% of Australians aged between 15 and 74 are considered to be "functionally illiterate".  So the work must go on.

The founding partners are looking at a range of strategies to keep the messages built up over the year out in the public space. We want to use the momentum of the year to continue to brand our events and promote the work that libraries do in promoting lifelong learning, adult literacy, digital literacy and the other related skills that are needed in today's society.

I want to acknowledge everyone who worked that little bit harder this year to add an extra event, or ensure that your local media published an article about the work you've always done supporting early childhood literacy, or the displays that you've run around "Love2Read".  They've all raised public awareness and will hopefully translate into increased reading & library use.

At the Canberra event Jon Bentick got to talk about how the Reading Hour came about (it was Jon's idea) & I got to talk about the great things that happened in SA this year.  It was so great to showcase the multitude of innovative programs and events that occurred throughout the State. I talked about the partnership with TAFE to deliver digital literacy to regional library staff, book crossing & book cafe programs, photography competitions, the multi-lingual Wilbur program & additional author events all of which were great.  However I think the one that grabbed the audience's attention was the Cummins picture (taken from a local's crop dusting plane) of the school oval full of students reading, in the shape of the Love2Read logo - see below!   I had so many positive comments about what you've all been up to, so I wanted to pass on the positive acknowledgements from others around the nation.

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