Friday, April 04, 2008

Everyday Literacy in Africa

Africa's Hidden Histories: Everyday Literacy And Making the Self, edited by Karin Barber, Indiana University Press, 2006.

Came across this interesting title. While mostly focused on the colonial era, the profiles of first-generation literates (who actively participated in the new "technology" of reading and writing in the colonial languages) remain very relevant today. There are plenty of patrons of FAVL-supported libraries who are the same sort of auto-didacts described in the various chapters.

Raises again a recurring theme on the blog: the impact of accessibility to reading materials may be enormous, but just for a handful of people. 100 users of a library may exhibit no discernible impact from the community libraries (except how many books they have read and their reading capability, but with no spillover into other aspects of life). But one person... deep literacy changes their life. How should we evaluate the worth of the library?

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