In addition to Library Card Sign-Up Month (woo-hoo!), September is National Literacy Month. As you would expect, literacy is very near and dear to our hearts here at the Free Library, and a core tenet of our mission to serve Philadelphians. Programs like LEAP, Read by 4th, and Words at Play work toward this mission each and every day. And while everyone knows libraries are literacy hubs, what you might not realize are the varying types of literacy we aim to promote all year round!
Not sure what we're talking about? Here are a few examples:
Opened in June of 2014, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Culinary Literacy Center (CLC), located on the fourth floor of the Parkway Central Library on Vine Street, aims to revolutionize the way Philadelphians think about food and nutrition. The CLC offers a range of classes and programs with an emphasis on learning math via measuring, reading via recipes, and science via the cooking process. The classes also teach consumer skills that help parents make recipes that fit the needs of their family.
The Free Library has a variety of programs and resources dedicated to promoting health in the community. The South Philadelphia Library at Broad and Morris is a part of the collaborative Community Health and Literacy Center, comprised of the Free Library, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the City of Philadelphia’s Health Center 2, and the DiSilvestro Recreation Center. Here, library users can check out a variety of items to help them take control of their health, including food scales and blood pressure cuffs. The Free Library also offers yoga classes, disease prevention programs, meditation workshops, flu shot clinics, Medicare information sessions, and many more health-minded events at neighborhood library locations across the city.
The Free Library wants all Philadelphians to be able to keep up with the ever-changing times! From a digital- and technology-literacy perspective, we offer classes in subjects like email basics, PowerPoint and Excel software, and social media, while also offering an e-Gadget Help Desk, where patrons can learn how to better utilize that new iPad, e-reader, smartphone, or tablet in a friendly, one-on-one setting. We also offer both Digital Media and Digital Learning portals on our website that offer access to free databases with streaming movies, music, ebooks, podcasts, or where you can get homework help, learn a new language, or take a continuing education course!
We live in a world where information is always available at our fingertips, but at the same time, a world in which we increasingly see our media outlets under fire. The Free Library has resources to help the public navigate this ever-changing, ever-growing, overwhelming media landscape – we need trusted news sources and factual information now more than ever!
What kinds of literacy have you observed at work in the library?