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.
Today’s profile is from Marta Aliberch in Esteve Paluzie Public Library in Barcelona, Spain.
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 in reference services in my library facilitating the users’ information needs (adults, children and local organizations). In addition, I give support in language services to facilitate formal and informal learning: access to library materials or other libraries in our region, information about languages schools and local linguistic programmes and guided tours adapted to suit particular interests or groups, including foreign visitors to Barberà del Vallès.
About adult literacy I collaborate with the Catalan Language Service to coordinate and conduct Easy-to-Read Clubs in the town with language students. Currently we have 3 groups who read specific material of an Easy- to-Read nature and this year one group has started reading Catalan Original text.
Choose and describe one programme that you did, or would like to do, regarding Adult Literacy in your library or institution.
The Easy-To-Read Club in Barberà del Vallès began in 2013 as part of Catalan Language Services, to improve the speaking and reading skills of its students. For this reason the books that are read in the library, except some fragments, are in the most basic level, because we want to use book’s contents as a great opportunity for speaking Catalan openly. In the region of Catalonia, Catalan and Spanish are co-official languages and both are used in all spheres of society.
Currently, this Club serves three levels of the Catalan Center: two basics levels and one pre-intermediate level with 15 or 20 students for each level. The type of user is very different, for example, people of different regions around Spain or people of different countries. And the age also is very diverse ranging from 18 to 70 years old.
This service is made possible by generosity and networking with other libraries in the Barcelona province and also collaboration with the Easy to Read Association in Barcelona. This collaboration helps us with the formation and extension of services and use of materials.
Finally, just this year, people who read Easy-to-Read books can now read in the Catalan language without adaptations. This is very encouraging for us to continue our work and also shows how important this material is in the course of learning a language. It also reinforces a guarantee of democracy in reading and literacy.
This year we plan to expand our Easy-to-Read materials and programmes into new contexts, for example, in a nursing home as a therapeutic activity for residents or as an inter-generational programme with two or more generations reading together.
Name three things that you think public Libraries in Europe can contribute to help improve the literacy levels of Europe’s Adult population?
-Integrate people at risk of social exclusion and guarantee the democratic right of all citizens to culture.
– Promote accessibility to information to everyone independently of reading or digital difficulties of each.
-Create a net of citizens and local agents interested with lifelong learning .
What would you like to see happen in your country’s libraries in the next 12 months to help improve adult literacy in Europe?
-Adopting public policy to guarantee resources in favour of lifelong learning and the recognition of role of the library in promoting literacy.
-Working together with community partners (schools, organizations, volunteers) for adopting joint ideas and principles.
-And finally, be made aware that easy materials are useful and necessary in our time and people need more editing, literature books or contemporary articles.
What do you think our Literacy for All Network can do to help libraries in Europe achieve these things?
The European Network ‘Literacy For All’ can serve to share good practices, resources and information with European librarians who have the same objectives or problems.
At the same time is a great opportunity for working together, get financing and more recognition for the important role that libraries provide in creating learning opportunities for adults.
What would you say to anyone that is interested in joining our Network?
Welcome, nice to meet you!