ALA reaffirms commitment to basic literacy

For Immediate Release
Mon, 07/22/2013


JoAnne Kempf


Office of Governance

American Library Association


CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) Council has passed a resolution reaffirming and supporting the principle that lifelong literacy is a basic right for all individuals in our society and is essential to the welfare of the nation.

The resolution, which was passed at the ALA Annual Conference, held June 27 – July 2 in Chicago, also reaffirms the core value of basic literacy for people of all ages and the building block for the development of all types of literacy. In addition, it encourages appropriate ALA units and divisions to actively participate in the Association's Literacy Assembly.

Basic literacy is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”  The ALA 2015 Strategic Plan recognizes literacy as a Key Action Area - one of seven guiding principles for investment of energies and resources.

According to ALA policy, the mission of the association is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” The ALA Policy Manual recognizes that literacy is a core service and responsibility of all libraries and is a “basic right for all individuals in our society and is essential to the welfare of the nation.”

ALA also “confirms that libraries of all types, as appropriate to their mission, have the responsibility to make literacy a high priority in planning and budgeting for library services.”

The association believes that libraries are equal partners in the national literacy movement and will “continue to take a strong leadership role and must join with other literacy providers to urge local, state, federal, and private agencies to promote active development of literacy on a policy level and to support funding of the literacy services in libraries.”

ALA supports the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services’ initiatives such as the American Dream Starts @ your library and recognizes the important work, resource lists and toolkits supporting a professional commitment to literacy, such as Literacy for All: Adult Literacy @ your library.

Resolution Reaffirming ALA's Committment to Basic Literacy: Council Document #37 (PDF)

Council Documents Annual/Midwinter 2013