What you can do to celebrate International Literacy Day with your co-workers

International Literacy Day (ILD) falls on Wednesday, September 8 this year. With the closure of so many libraries in the UK in recent years thanks to local government cuts, it’s something worth bringing to people’s attention.

After all, the whole point of International Literacy Day is to raise awareness of the problems thousands of people in this country have by not being able to communicate using the English language. And that’s something libraries can help with.

Organised by the United Nations, the first ILD was held in 1967. According to UNESCO progress has been made since then but literacy challenges still persist. They say at least 773 million young people and adults today lack basic literacy skills.

@ReadingPartners: “We read our bills, calculate our taxes, and read the labels on the foods we consume. We spend hours on end searching the internet for answers to our most pressing questions…For individuals living in a literate world, it can be hard to imagine navigating life without the ability to read or write.”

This year’s theme for ILD is “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide.” It refers to the disruption of learning for millions of children and adults around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic. This has magnified pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities, say organisers.

How to celebrate ILD with colleagues

There are plenty of things you can do in your workplace to celebrate ILD and, at the same time, raise money to help the cause. Here are just some of them:

Donate to a literacy charity

There are lots of charities all around the world trying to improve literacy. Perhaps you could organise a whip-round in the office or hold an event such as a ‘bring and buy’ sale or arrange a coffee morning with homemade traybakes?

If you work for a large multinational organisation or even a national company then why not put forward a literacy charity for the company’s annual donations to charity?

Set up a book fair

Why not donate spare books taking up space in your home to a work’s book fair. Don’t have a work’s book fair coming up?

Then organise it yourself, with a couple of colleagues. Just ask everyone in the office to donate a pile of books they no longer read then set a date and hold a community event. You may be surprised at just how much money you manage to raise. And, just think of the pleasure you’ll give lots of readers.

Start a reading group at work

Get together like-minded individuals to read a book and meet once a week during lunchtime or after work in a local café to discuss it. A reading group is a great way of meeting new work friends and boosting your own literacy. If you still don’t feel comfortable meeting up with a group of colleagues due to the pandemic then how about hosting it via Zoom?

Books and coffee