Australian libraries and library associations have got together to turn 2012 into the National Year of Reading .. We’ll be partnering with government, writers, schools, publishers, booksellers, employers, child care providers, health professionals and a whole host of other organisations that share our passion for reading.
The National Year of reading 2012 project is a very worthwhile cause, but interestingly in the list of stakeholders (above) there is no mention of partnering with any IT company or technology group. This is intriguing as reading and literacy has been fundamentally advanced in the last 15 years or so by technology. 20 or 30 years ago the average young person (outside of school) rarely if ever wrote a single word, not a letter, not a diary, not an article – nothing. Today via mobile phones they will write (and read) on average 30 messages a day. The Internet and its social networking, blogging, chatting etc. etc. also rely on the ability to read the written word. To take part in modern society requires and has attained a fundamentally new level of literacy among the general population as has never been seen before. This form of reading and writing should be celebrated.
We can still value books for their intrinsic worth, but should not forget that it is technology which is driving literacy. Technology allows not only access to the written word, but more importantly it allows for the average person to add their words to the world.
Reading is important, but it is passive, with technology the reader also becomes the writer thus creating an active conversation.