5 February 2014

Workshop: Adult illiteracy and second language perspectives: Toward a public library collaboration in Europe

By Adjoa K. Boateng

9 – 13 June 2014, Botkyrka, Sweden

All over Europe public libraries work to improve literacy. With the purpose to create a network of public libraries and librarians on the topic of functional illiteracy among adults, we want to invite You to apply for a workshop in Botkyrka, Sweden, in June 2014: Adult illiteracy and second language perspectives: Toward a public library collaboration in Europe. The Workshop will combine theoretical seminars, presentations of literacy projects, as well as creative workshops on public library work and librarians roles and competencies regarding functional illiteracy among adults.

According to the EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy a high number of adult Europeans do not have sufficient literacy skills. In their report from September 2012 the expert group states that 20% of all adults in Europe is probable to lack the literacy skills they need to function fully in modern society. This would mean that approximately 73 million Europeans are not functionally literate. The expert group claims that Europe today faces a "literacy crisis", and concludes with a call for collaborative action. The workshop initiative in Botkyrka is one response to this demand.

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 in Europe. The Workshop is about library work that relates to basic literacy skills among adults with mother tongues other than the majority language in the country where they live. Special attention will be paid to literacy problems among adults that stem from lack of professionally led schooling during childhood.

Botkyrka is a municipality in Sweden. It holds 87.000 inhabitants and is an integrated part of the fast growing capital region of Stockholm. More than a hundred languages are spoken in Botkyrka, and the average age is 37. This makes Botkyrka one of Sweden´s youngest and most international and intercultural community. When it comes to public policy, sustainable development and human rights issues, they are high on the agenda for this young municipality.

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. Due to economic limitations, participants from Sweden have to finance and find accommodation on their own.

Find the application form, and read more about the Workshop here:


Library Services to Multicultural Populations, Literacy, Social inclusion, Society, Sweden

List all IFLA news