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ERIC Number: EJ706017
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep-1
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 49
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0363-0277
Literacy, Redefined
Deane, Paul
Library Journal, v129 n14 p49 Sep 2004
What does it mean to be literate in the 21st century? Fifty years ago a high school graduate with some basic reading and writing ability could get a well-paying blue-collar job. Today a person at the same level might have trouble finding good work and may be considered illiterate in some circles. The past half-century has brought us not only astonishing technological transformations but expanded definitions of the term literacy. While there is general agreement in 2004 that adult literacy is more than just a measure of basic reading skills, there is still no consensus on an exact definition. The American Library Association Committee on Literacy has drafted a document that offers 13 different definitions (available on www.ala.com). Minimalists define literacy as the basic set of skills required to function on a job--skills that include math and writing as well as reading. Others, arguing that the ability to use a computer is crucial to workplace productivity, have expanded the definition to incorporate technological literacy. While there is general agreement in 2004 that adult literacy is more than just a measure of basic reading skills, there is still no consensus on an exact definition. The American Library Association Committee on Literacy has drafted a document that offers 13 different definitions (available on www.ala.com). Minimalists define literacy as the basic set of skills required to function on a job--skills that include math and writing as well as reading. Others, arguing that the ability to use a computer is crucial to workplace productivity, have expanded the definition to incorporate technological literacy. To help with the process, this article will focus on general and professional materials that address the new literacy. Specific reading texts for new adult readers and curriculum materials are omitted for two reasons: first, public libraries will offer better service by coordinating collection development in these areas with local literacy councils and agencies; second, the federal government has tied the funding of many reading programs to the use of curricula that are developed on "evidence-based" criteria for adult literacy. Publishers have not had time to apply these new criteria into their textbooks. Patrons must be trained how best to use new tools like online databases and the Internet. Thus traditional bibliographic instruction (BI) has been reborn as information literacy. Likewise, interest in workplace literacy has grown as companies require a more tech-savvy work force.
Library Journal, 360 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010. Tel: 800-588-1030 (Toll Free); Web site: http://www.libraryjournal.com.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: General Educational Development Tests