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Encyclopaedia Britannica on International Literacy Day

8th September 2010

International Literacy Day

This year the focus for International Literacy Day is women. Unesco described it as ‘ An occasion to celebrate women’s empowerment through literacy and pay tribute to the women and men who work behind the scenes who help others acquire literacy skills and enter a world of opportunities’

Being able to read and write is a skill most of us take for granted but in the modern world with all its great technological advances it is incredible that there are something like 759 million people who are illiterate and two out of every three of these people are women.
Imagine not being able to read your child a bedtime story, or the instructions on medicines or labels on food packaging or even the delights of being able to curl up with your favourite book.  These are basic skills without which many doors are closed – opportunities lost…or not even imagined.

I had been invited to speak and present prizes at the Encyclopaedia Britannica prize-giving event  which had been planned for this particular day, to celebrate International Literacy Day.

Over 3000 library members from all over Scotland took part in a quiz online which was being held in Scotland through Scottish libraries.  There were questions about Scottish history, politics and literature.  There are three great prizes, one for each category Adult, Student and Junior so that everyone could have a chance to take part by visiting their local library where they could access the Encyclopaedia Britannica free on line or using their library card they could log on at home.

The winners of the Adult and Student prizes were theree but unfortunately the winner of the Junior prize was unable to make it so her local libarian collected it on her behalf.

It was a lovely event held in the David Douglas room which is part of the new building at the main entrance to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh. I had forgotten quite how beautiful the Botanics are I have always loved wandering along the winding paths and it reminded me visit it again, it has been too long.  I must go back very soon.

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