Member Profiles: Sarah Tscholl

In a new series of posts profiling our Network members and the work that they do we have asked each member of our network the same questions and we will post the responses here.Sarah Tscholl Post

Our next profile is on Sarah Tscholl, a Librarian at Bibliothek am Luisenbad, Stadtbibliothek Berlin-Mitte, Germany.

Describe what you do in your job from day to day. (Describe how your day to day practices are related to adult literacy)

I mostly work in the adult library as a lector for media in the fields of foreign languages (special focus on Turkish media), geography, magazines, and also books in easy-to-read-language. Furthermore I’m in charge of innovative online-services, which include electronical, digital and social media. I guide groups of people through our library, mainly adults who only speak a little German and also literacy groups.

Choose and describe one programme that you did, or would like to do, regarding Adult Literacy in your library or institution.

In terms of adult and family literacy, the library has cooperated with the adult education center in Berlin-Mitte during the last couple of years in a project called “Elternakademie”. In the context of integration courses, adults are introduced to the library and made familiar with the media. We have started to build up a stock of easy-to-read books and books on the subject of literacy over the last years. This was done with the help of the friends of the library. Today we have 180 books in easy-to-read language in our library that can be borrowed.

Name three things that you think public Libraries in Europe can contribute to help improve the literacy levels of Europe’s Adult population?

1. Constantly work on the topic
2. Share best practices
3. Network with other libraries and institutions on a national and international level

What would you like to see happen in your country’s libraries in the next 12 months to help improve adult literacy in Europe?

Libraries in Germany need to employ more qualified staff. It is important that the work in the field of literacy is not only restricted to projects with a limited duration but included constantly in the normal workday. Therefore funding must be secured and awareness for the importance of the topic must be raised.

What do you think our Literacy for All Network can do to help libraries in Europe achieve these things?

We can raise awareness with our network and share best practices. We can exchange our ideas, meet in the virtual and the real world, and be an organ for libraries all over Europe.

What would you say to anyone that is interested in joining our Network?

Welcome 🙂

If you are interested in joining our Literacy for All Network please email us or find us on Facebook or LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter.

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Member Profile: Mihaela Andonova

In a new series of posts profiling our Network members and the work that they do we have asked each member of our network the same questions and we will post the responses here.

Our next profile is on Mihaela Andonova, a Librarian and member of the Management board of Innovative Community Centers Association in Bulgaria.Mihaela Andonova Photo
Describe what you do in your job from day to day. (Describe how your day to day practices are related to adult literacy)

Every day I meet the challenges of working on different topics, related to adult literacy. I am a member of the Management board of The Innovative Community Centers Association /ICCA/ for the last 5 years. ICCA is a Bulgarian organization which carries out activities connected with sustainable development and in particular educational, informational and technological development of local communities through the community centers in our country.

To accomplish one of ICCA main objectives – the access to vocational training and education of the citizens, according to their personal interests and abilities and meeting the needs for qualified workers, competitive on the labor market, in 2006 ICCA Vocational Training Center was certified, realizing the necessity of assuring and maintaining quality in the vocational education and training of people from settlements remote from the significant administrative centers. The vocational training network was established as result of the teamwork of the community centers and libraries in partnership with local government, employers and non-government organizations.

Nowadays, in a time of global financial and social crisis, the market of labor has become very complicated, especially in Bulgaria. Many people are unemployed for a long time. They have gradually lost their qualification and interest to search for a new job and opportunities. The social exclusion is a fact. Now the most important role of our organization is to support these people, young or old, and to give them a chance to enhance their competitiveness through education and training and a chance to live better with new knowledge and skills.

Libraries are an integral part of the community centers in Bulgaria. The uppermost importance for me as a member of ICCA is to work and achieve an equal access to education, qualification and work. This goal was partially achieved through the implementation of training for librarians in the period 2012-2014. Together with the Bulgarian Library and Information Association for three years we trained 242 librarians from all parts in Bulgaria and they gained their third qualification degree in the “Librarian” profession.

Choose and describe one programme that you did, or would like to do, regarding Adult Literacy in your library or institution.

One of the latest topics I`m working on is the SEAM Project.

“SEAM: Social Education of Adults through Mobility” is a two-year strategic partnership at international level coordinated by Asociación Gantalcalá (Spain) with the support of Innovative Community Centres Association (Bulgaria), Diecezni charita Brno (Czech Republic), Passaggi onlus (Italy), Latvian Adult Education Association (Latvia), Municipio de Amarante (Portugal) and Inštitut Antona Trstenjaka za gerontologijo in medgeneracijsko sožitje (Slovenia). Funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commision, the project aims to join together organisations from different fields in order to work together and exchange good practices related to social inclusion of adults and the acquisition of new cultural and/or language skills through formal and non formal education methodologies.
During the project implementation, partner organisations from the mentioned countries will run together different activities such as:
• Coordination meetings on the project partner countries in order to get to know the best practices and local projects related with adults intercultural and/or social education;
• Design, creation, test and publication of different manuals for organisations managing local projects for adults and toolkits for sending and hosting adults from other countries through cooperation or volunteering projects;
• International learning activities such as trainings for adult educators;
• Transnational activities for adult learners to promote their mobility as a learning tool;
• Local activities for learners and trainers working on the adult field focused on testing new learning materials and developing innovative ones;
• Visibility events on each partner country to disseminate the project results.
Thanks to these activities and a regular cooperation between adults educators and users over 50 years old during all these activities, the project intends to promote the cooperation between European organisations on the field of non formal and formal adult education, that could make possible the creation of a network of partners for the development of mobility projects for adults, that could also help to promote the entrepreneurship and initiative of adults and involve them on peer education projects. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission and the Erasmus+ programme.

Name three things that you think public Libraries in Europe can contribute to help improve the literacy levels of Europe’s Adult population?

– Share know-how from the best practices;
– Exchange and translate materials;
– Send books in their own languages to places where libraries need it.

What would you like to see happen in your country’s libraries in the next 12 months to help improve adult literacy in Europe?

We definitely need strategic partnerships on national level with institutions working on literacy and also support for different activities from the Government and European projects.

What do you think our Literacy for All Network can do to help libraries in Europe achieve these things?

As we grow bigger we will be able to share more practices, training materials, identify specific needs and find financial support for them.

What would you say to anyone that is interested in joining our Network?

If you are interested – you are the most welcome to join, explore, learn and share!
If you are interested in joining our Literacy for All Network please email us or find us on Facebook or LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter.

Member Profiles : Peter Bjorkman

In a new series of posts profiling our Network members and the work that they do we have asked each member of our network the same questions and we will post the responses here.Peter Bjorkman photo

Our next network member isPeter Bjorkman, a Librarian at Bibliotek Botkyrka, Sweden and co-founder of the Literacy For All Network.
Contact Peter directly at peter.bjorkman@botkyrka.se

Describe what you do in your job from day to day. (Describe how your day to day practices are related to adult literacy)

I work as Librarian in Hallunda library, in Botkyrka Municipality, Stockholm Region. My work includes information services in the library, acquisition of media in linguistics and second language acquisition for adults (language courses, easy-readers, etc.), and strategic work in the field of public performances and discussions in the library. I also faclilitate programmes in the library for different age groups.

Choose and describe one programme that you did, or would like to do, regarding Adult Literacy in your library or institution.

I have worked with easy-reader books in a lot of settings and contexts. I have for example collaborated with a local learning center, where I held a reading group with seniors with very basic literacy skills. This autumn I will have two different reading groups for marginalized citizens in my community, in collaboration with a local work agency.

Name three things that you think public Libraries in Europe can contribute to help improve the literacy levels of Europe’s Adult population?

1) Focus on storytelling and public gatherings for all age groups, i.e. work consciously with the relationship between the spoken and the written word.
2) IT related courses.
3) Collaborate with local agencies relating to health, work, and education, in order to reach people with no or limited library experience.

What would you like to see happen in your country’s libraries in the next 12 months to help improve adult literacy in Europe?

Librarians working with adults will hopefully strengthen their focus on literacy and multilingual issues. More awareness is needed.Hallunda Bibliotek

What do you think our Literacy for All Network can do to help libraries in Europe achieve these things?

Hopefully the network will evolve and become an lively meeting place for librarians around Europe working with adult education issues. In order to fully become that meeting place it needs to expand. Hopefully it will become so well organized in the future that it will be able to carry out projects of different kind.

Email Peter directly here.

If you are interested in joining our Literacy for All Network please email us or find us on Facebook or LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter.

Member Profile: Niamh O’Donovan

We are starting a new series of blog posts profiling the members of our network. We have asked each member the same questions and over the next few weeks we will post their answers here.

Our first member profile is Niamh O’Donovan, a Library Aissistant with Galway Public Libraries in Ireland.

See more about Niamh here.

Niamh O'Donovan

Niamh O’Donovan

Describe what you do in your job from day to day. (Describe how your day to day practices are related to adult literacy)

My job is different every day. I work with Adults and children. I help people with IT queries, I orgainise children’s and adult events, conduct workshops, information sessions, cultural events and reader’s advisory.

In our adult library I am working on two ongoing projects: a Reading Aloud group for adults with intellectual disabilities and I am developing our Business and Career Development special collection to assist with digital-literacy, job-seekers, new enterprise start-ups and people returning to education.

Choose and describe one program that you did, or would like to do, regarding Adult Literacy in your library or institution

I conduct a weekly Reading Aloud group for Adults with Intellectual Disabililties. Reading Aloud, otherwise known as Bibliotherapy is increasingly popular in Ireland and the UK and there are now reading aloud groups in Libraries, Prisons, Hospitals, Schools and Nursing Homes.

A Reading Aloud group is aimed at individuals who would like to improve their reading skills, or have low literacy levels due to their social or economic backgrounds. The content of the material that we read also helps participants address personal issues in their lives.

It is also about reading for pleasure and helping people to discover a love of good quality literature.

My group meet once a week and I read to them for about 20 minutes. The members are not able to read themselves but they always give positive feedback and it has become an essential part of their weekly routine.

Name three things that you think public Libraries in Europe can contribute to help improve the literacy levels of Europe’s Adult population?

  1.      A sharing of Best Practices in Literacy Programming to help libraries find ways to incorporate Adult Education into their services.
  2. Connecting and forming partnerships with eachother and National Agencies.
  3. Advocacy regarding Adult Literacy directed at politicians and policy makers.

What would you like to see happen in your country’s libraries in the next 12 months to help improve adult literacy in Europe?

I would like constructive support from our Government for the employment of professional qualified staff in Libraries. A strategic plan to restore the staffing levels and funding in all libraries across Ireland must be put in place to ensure that a quality library service can meet the needs of our citizens.

What do you think our Literacy for All Network can do to help libraries in Europe achieve these things?

We can be advocates for Libraries across Europe and change people’s perspective about Libraries. We are considered many things – cultural centres, social centres, obsolete.

We are also educators and that often goes unnoticed or it is not considered necessary. There is an assumption that libraries are just for those who love to read and read well. We can change that perception and show that we can and do provide support and expertise in all aspects of literacy.

We are already contributing a huge amount towards improving the literacy of Europe’s population. This can be highlighted by sharing our best practices. We can increase discussion and the exchange of ideas also by creating a dynamic and active network.

What would you say to anyone that is thinking of joining our network?

Whether you agree or disagree with what I’ve said you should still join our network. We want to discuss, collaborate and exchange ideas. Our strength is in our members and the more active members we have the more we can achieve. Please join!

If you are interested in joining our Literacy for All Network please email us or find us on Facebook or LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter.