Libraries have focused on literacy, the ability to read, write and interact, for years. It is an important service to our patrons and our communities. People need to be literate in order to be involved in and contribute to society. Times are changing, technologies are evolving rapidly, it’s no longer enough to focus on the ability to read and write alone. If we only focus on literacy we are doing a disservice to our patrons. Just as libraries took on the task of helping to ensure all people are literate, now we need to take on the task of ensure all people are transliterate.
What is transliteracy?
Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. – wikipedia
Soon people will need to be transliterate in order to be involved in and contribute to society. It is already a requirement to participate in some aspects of our society and it will only become more so. Government agencies are no longer issuing print forms, you have to access them online. Your health insurance plan was a website and you have an account, when you call they will tell you to go there to get information. Banks are sending alerts and account balance information via text messages. Facebook privacy settings are complex and change frequently. The price of computers is dropping allowing more people to own one. Free WiFi access points are increasing, allowing more people internet access.
For many people all of the above are new experiences. Experiences they can have with no training, no supervision and no support.
In order to best serve our patrons we need to move from literacy to transliteracy. Add it to your strategic plan, mission, statement and goals. Commit to it. Talk with your coworkers and colleagues about it.
Read more about transliteracy.
- Transliteracy: A Trend of Amplified Organization
- Transliteracy Project
- Transliteracy: Take a Walk on the Wild Side pdf
- Transliteracy Research Group
- Transliteracy: Crossing Divides