Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Levels of Literacy

Levels of literacy: Adult literacy declines in new age
Columbia Missourian: November 14, 2008 by Kelsi Stoltenow

COLUMBIA — Even if you can read this, you might still be illiterate.

Although Americans can read at roughly the same level they could in the early 1990s, the demands of work, family and civic life require higher levels of literacy than they did before.

In a 2007 academic report, "America's Perfect Storm," Andrew Sum, a professor in labor economics at Northeastern University in Boston, found by 2030, the average literacy levels of adults will have decreased by 5 percent.

If Sum's prediction is correct, it will be the first time in U.S. history that a generation is replaced with one less educated. Already this is evident in the workplace, at home and in the chronic illiteracy that persists in American society.

~ As the U.S. trades its old manufacturing jobs for high-tech computer jobs, fewer and fewer Americans have the literacy and other skills employers need their employees to have.

~ A child’s literacy level increases with the number of books at home, but the number of books any adult is likely to read and keep in the home grows smaller each year.

~ About $238 billion worth of medical-related mistakes are made each year in the U.S. because of citizens’ low health literacy.

~ In a seemingly borderless global civilization, there were still 7 million illiterate adults in the U.S. in 2003 (out of about 254 million adults).

A 2007 study [To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence] completed by the National Endowment of the Arts found employers identify lack of skills in written communication as the most common employee deficiency. Employers also cite reading comprehension as a common deficiency among employees.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Literacy Tribune Newsletter: November 2008

The Literacy Tribune has information for readers on topics such as health, finance, education and technology. It also has stories and poems by adult learners. It is published by United Literacy, as a resource and support for adult learners.

Highlights from the November 2008 issue:

Getting to the Heart of It
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Almost 700,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year . . . . .

A Learner's Poem: A Star Came Down
by Rodolfo Diaz, Adult Learner
A star came down from the sky bringing with it . . . . .

Technology Watch: Updating Windows XP with Service Pack 3
We have talked about the importance of anti-virus software to protect your computer. But, that is not the only way to keep your computer and your personal information safe . . . . .

A History Lesson: James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. Born in Port Conway, Virginia on March 16, 1751, he is one of 7 presidents from Virginia . . . .

Call for Writers !

Are you an adult learner ?
Do you want to write ?
Do you want to publish your writing ?

The Literacy Tribune is looking for adult learner writers.

You can write about:
Literacy resources you like

Your literacy organization
Your road to literacy
You can write book reviews, poetry, short stories
You can write articles about health, finance, or technology
You can write just about anything

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Global Monitoring Report 2006 - Literacy for Life

Global Monitoring Report 2006 - Literacy for Life

As in previous years, the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report examines progress towards 6 EFA goals.

The year 2005 was particularly significant:

~ the goal to achieve gender parity in primary and secondary education by 2005 has not been met, despite very rapid progress, especially in a number of low-income countries.

~ the vast majority of the world’s 771 million adult illiterates live in three regions: South and West Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, and sub-Saharan Africa.

~ women continue to constitute a majority of the world’s illiterates:
64% - unchanged from 1990. At the global level, only 88 adult women are considered literate for every 100 adult men.

~ progress towards mass literacy is especially marked in the 15-24 age group, where expanded access to formal schooling helped raise the global literacy rate from 75% to 88% between 1970 and 2000–2004; the corresponding rates for developing countries were 66% and 85%.

Conventional literacy data show that the global literacy rate increased from:
56% in 1950
70% in 1980
75% in 1990
82% in 2000–2004
It is expected to reach about 86% by 2015

Worldwide, the adult literacy rate increased at a faster pace in the 1970s than in subsequent decades. In sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia, and the Arab States, literacy rates increased by more than 10% between 1990 and 2000.

Today, more than 80% of the global population over age 15 is reported to possess at least minimal reading and writing skills. This reflects an unprecedented social transformation since the mid-19th century, when only about 10% of the world’s adults could read or write.

The dramatic increase in adult literacy rates happened despite the quintupling of the world population, from about 1.2 billion in 1850 to over 6.4 billion today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

ALA Stimulus Package

ALA seeks $100 million in stimulus funding as U.S. libraries face critical cutbacks, closures
ALA Press Release: October 29, 2008

The American Library Association (ALA) is asking Congress for $100 million in stimulus funding to aid the nation’s working families during the current economic crisis. Aid is sought to stem the bleeding of critical library services that help Americans with job searches, small business development, financial literacy and other essential assistance in hard economic times.

Public libraries are facing the most severe cutbacks in decades as budget shortfalls hit cities, towns and rural areas across the country, according to the association. From Los Angeles to Boston, libraries are cutting hours and services; some are even facing the threat of closure at a time when their support is needed most.

ALA’s recommendation comes as Congress holds hearings this week on economic growth and job creation, including a Joint Economic Committee Hearing tomorrow.

Public libraries depend heavily on local property taxes to maintain operations. Across the country increased foreclosure rates, lower home values and fewer sales have sharply reduced available funds, forcing libraries to cut services and hours.

“America’s free public libraries provide a lifeline for citizens in need across the country,” said ALA President Jim Rettig. “Ensuring Internet access, career workshops, business seminars and other economic support services are vital links in the nation’s financial recovery. This is no time to cut much-needed support, reduce hours or close library doors.”

Investments in libraries often yield high dividends for communities. Studies show economic returns from salaries and wages paid to staff, construction costs, employment services and library purchases. A recent Pennsylvania study points out that for every dollar invested in the public library, the community receives a return of $5.50. A similar report from Florida shows a $6.54 return on investment.

“Economic studies demonstrate the positive impact of spending in local communities,” said Joe Matthews, an internationally recognized expert on library management with an MBA degree from the University of California, Irvine.

“Known as the multiplier effect, every dollar spent in the community will ripple through the economy with an impact ranging from 7 to 11 times the initial spending,” he added. “The proposed stimulus spending for America’s public libraries will have an enormous impact on local economies, helping communities across the country get back on track financially.” Matthews is an acclaimed author and professor at San Joe [sic] University. READ MORE

Take Action !
Find elected officials:
President, Congress, Governors, State Legislators, and more.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Library Ballot Measures: November 2008

November 2008 Election
Some Library Measures & Propositions

Winners (or winning)

Berkeley Measure FF passed with 67.7 percent of the vote
Fresno County library tax increase gets approved
Gilroy’s library bond a point off the magic number
Mill Valley School District voters passed Measure A
Palo Alto library bonds win with slight margin
Santa Paula Measure L approved with 67%
Berthoud library initiative passes

Fulton County library bond passes
New Mexico
Measure for tribal library books passes
New York
Johnson City: increase Union's library tax was approved
Fairfield Library's .5-mil renewal makes grade with ease

Clackamas County Library Measure passes
Springville says yes to library building bond


CO: Douglas County library funding loses
IL: Voters also said no to a for Abingdon's John Mosser Public
IL: Barrington Public Library lost
MA: Walpole, Brockton (Ma) funding increases defeated
NE: Dodge County, Voters reject library measure
WI: Hudson Library referendum turned down
WY: Jackson Hole voters reject new library proposal