BEYOND ACCESS: How Public Libraries Can Support Community Literacy

(BEYOND ACCESS)  IREX Program Manager Ari Katz brings home the fact that libraries are not only key to enhancing literacy levels around the world, but that they are often (curiously) left out of key strategies that would leverage their vast repositories of written materials and the confidence placed in them by the residents that they serve.

beyond-access-logo_enContrary to the assumption that the printed word is becoming passe, thereby negating the need to bolster our libraries, Katz feels that “A library can be an ‘ecology of learning’ — a safe space open to all that isn’t just a warehouse for books.”

He further goes on to state that libraries are places where communities can facilitate an introduction to technology in today’s world, which is important for not only communication and entertainment, but managing finances, personal health, and professional endeavors. “Tech that supports literacy should encourage sharing and collaborative family interaction,” he states.

The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network, Inc. (viNGN) has ensured that the public libraries of the U.S. Virgin Islands have the advantage of being able to offer free computer and internet access to community members needing to broaden their skills and abilities, access critical information for health and personal finance, and more.  A library is a Community Anchor Institution (CAI) – as part of viNGN’s implementation of the nationwide Broadband Initiative, this support will better enable our libraries to contribute to a better future for the territory.

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