Apply for workshop participation!

Registration for the Workshop is now open! Last day to submit your application is 3 March 2014. A reply will be sent out on 2 April 2014.

Who can apply?

The Workshop is open to librarians and staff working in the field of adult literacy, from countries participating in the EU funded Lifelong Learning Programme. Librarians and other library workers are a prioritised group, especially those with earlier experience within the field of adult literacy, and/or with ambitions to initiate a programme in accordance to the subjects of the workshop.

The Workshop is free of charge for participants. Bibliotek Botkyrka is also responsible for travel and subsistence costs for participants coming from another country in Europe than Sweden, including hotel accommodation and two-way flight tickets to Stockholm.

How do I apply?

The provided link is to the application form for the Adult illiteracy and second language perspectives: Towards a public library collaboration in Europe.

To apply to the Workshop please download the application form to your computer and fill it out. Print out the completed application and sign with your name at the assigned space. Scan the now signed and completed application form, and send it to us at

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email with your query!

The topic of the Workshop in Botkyrka

The majority of the functionally illiterate adults in Europe use the language of instruction – that is, the languages of the different official school systems – as their first language. However, changes in Europe’s demographic composition makes it increasingly important to discuss second language aspects of all literacy related issues. In order to narrow down the scope, the Workshop in Botkyrka will therefore have a second language approach to functional illiteracy. Its focus will be on library work that relates to basic literacy skills among adults with first languages other than the majority language in the country where they live. Special attention will be paid to literacy problems among adults that stem from a lack of professionally led schooling during childhood.

Literacy in Europe

In societies dominated by the written word, literacy is a fundamental requirement for all adult residents in modern Europe. Literacy skills are crucial to full participation in society. It is needed in parenting, finding and keeping a job, managing one´s health, and to be able to take advantage of digital developments. Yet a high number of adult Europeans do not have sufficient literacy skills. According to the EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy an estimated 20% of all adults in Europe is probable to lack the literacy skills needed to function fully in modern society. This means that an estimated 73 million European adults lack functional literacy. In their report from September 2012 [PDF], the expert group claims that Europe today faces a “literacy crisis”, and conclude with a call for collaborative action.

Towards a public library collaboration in Europe

Literacy is a foundation for most library activities, and the legitimacy and identity of the public library institutions in Europe are closely connected to the work European societies do for democratic development. Due to the fact that literacy is a question of democracy and democratization, it is obvious that the public libraries of Europe has a role to play in reducing functional illiteracy. It is stated in UNESCO Public Library Manifesto that one key mission for any public library is “supporting and participating in literacy activities and programmed for all age groups, and initiating such activities if necessary”.

Work to reduce illiteracy is already taking place in libraries across Europe. In a Europe facing a “literacy crisis” it is crucial to gather forces and intensify the work, with improved cooperation. To raise awareness and put functional illiteracy among adults more clearly on the agenda of European public libraries, it is an important step to create an European network of libraries and librarians on the topic.

Workshop in June 2014

With the purpose to create a network of public libraries and librarians on functional illiteracy among adults, a workshop is held in Botkyrka, Sweden, in June 2014. The workshop is called Adult illiteracy and second language perspectives: Toward a public library collaboration in Europe. The Workshop will combine theoretical seminars, presentations of literacy projects, and creative workshops on public library work and librarians roles and competencies regarding functional illiteracy among adults.