The Role of Libraries in Literacy Education

As we all know, libraries are a place where you can find thousands of books ranging from today’s newspaper to encyclopedic tomes, a library provides a wide spectrum of different reading materials that cater to every reader from all age groups and demographics. According to a report by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Malaysia’s literacy rate stands at 94.64%, relatively high when compared with other countries in the region, this is attributable to the fact that almost 90% of Malaysia’s population have a voracious reading habit.

The Adult and Youth Literacy: National Regional and Global Trends report published in 2016 stated that out of the 85% of Malaysians who read on a regular basis, 77% read newspapers, 3% preferred magazines and books respectively whereas 1.6% opted for comic books. This is a clear indication that Malaysians are interested in a wide variety of reading materials ranging from newspapers to novels independent of age group.

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It is therefore important for libraries to keep their collections updated. Libraries can either incorporate a plethora reading materials that cater to readers from different demographic and age groups, this could also mean that libraries should be divided into adult and children sections where books and literary works are accordingly sectioned. It is crucial for libraries to be an organized and conducive environment, not only for easier navigation or readers’ convenience but also to create a dynamic environment where people can freely access the world of knowledge.

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This is especially timely in South East Asian countries where illiteracy rates are shockingly and perpetually low. With libraries, kids from impoverished families could be exposed to books and education, they would have the access to education and free learning regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds. There have been major breakthroughs in several Asian countries where the governments have been able to partially combat illiteracy. Although we have a long way to go, it is nevertheless really important to make education accessible to everyone.

Limited Access to Internet: Free Educational Resources

According to a 2018 report by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions, Internet penetration and connectivity in Malaysia has risen up to 85.7% as of 2018, even so, many people in the rural and remote areas are not enjoying this luxury. This is where libraries come in handy. By building libraries in these areas, people living outside the radius of internet penetration can have the access to free educational resources they need which are readily provided by libraries. This is a timely and relevant initiative that the government can consider since there are still a large number of people living in the suburbs, villages or areas unreachable by fiber optics, with very limited access to the internet. That said, the building of libraries across the nation especially in the rural areas need to be fully funded by the government. Existing libraries should be annually renovated and revamped. Books and other reading materials, educational resources should also be provided to these libraries and regularly updated, not only will this be beneficial to communities without internet connections, it can also help, indirectly, increase the overall literacy rates across our nation.

Furthermore, they are also people who go to libraries because free WIFI is provided in libraries, reasons also include they have limited or no access to the internet at home and also for the quiet and conducive environment. Studies show that there is a direct link between our productivity and the environment in which we work. Libraries are usually calm and quiet, providing a constant tranquility and comfortable space for those who wish to achieve maximum productivity. Making sure our surroundings are free from distractions and unnecessary noises are instrumental if we wish to be productive and prolific, this is a reason why many people like going to the libraries. Aside from that, it also promotes a culture of free education, libraries are like a wide web of information database, a labyrinth of obscure knowledge and wisdoms, a library houses thousands of reference books that everyone can make use of. Education is a commodity that should be free and readily accessible to everyone, by building libraries, we are able to transmit and disseminate knowledge freely and without hindrance.

Foster Interpersonal Relationship: Build Rapport

Libraries also play an important role in helping to build interpersonal connections and strong rapport. In libraries, we often see people gather in a circle, discussing all sorts of matters. When people are engaged in a civilized discussion, they seek to piece together a puzzle that has been scrambled, by listening and voicing out their opinions they’re able to see the clues hidden in plain sight, and ultimately reach a common ground and mutual understanding. Libraries are a convenient place for group discussions as most libraries are equipped with a sound-proof meeting room that are sometimes air-conditioned, this not only will encourage people to go to libraries, they’re also able to develop an interpersonal relationship with each other, building and forging a rapport which is of paramount importance in our life.

Libraries are also a place where people from all walks of life converge to fortify their knowledge, people go to libraries to find extra information and educational resources that might not be available anywhere else, school children also occasionally go to the library to discuss their assignments and school works, to supplement their inadequate knowledge by searching additional details and facts to consolidate their understanding on a particular subject. They could also have a group study with their friends at the library, whenever they are unsure of an answer they could always ask their friends, this would not only help them academically as they engage in a group study, but also promote healthy interaction between school friends.

It goes without saying that libraries are important not only to our community but also to all the communities worldwide. Libraries bridge the knowledge gap between the young and the old, they engage people from all walks of life in a conversation, and they also help connect people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. A library houses knowledge and wisdom that have been passed down through the millennia. It is thus crucially indispensable that we continue building libraries to benefit not only our community but also our posterity.

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The Role of Libraries in Literacy Education. (2021, Feb 04). Retrieved from

The Role of Libraries in Literacy Education

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