September 8 is International Literacy Day. The day was proclaimed by UNESCO in 1965 as a way of highlighting the importance of literacy throughout the world.
I am so grateful that I grew up in a society that gave me access to all the books I wanted to read and to a decent free education. My parents always allowed me the freedom to read whatever I wanted and the public library gave me access to almost everything I was interested in reading. That is one of the reasons that I went to school to become a library technician.
Public libraries are one of the strongest weapons in the fight against illiteracy; everyone has access to free literature at the library and to the tools and resources to help those who cannot read, most libraries have free Internet access and therefore links to resources to fight illiteracy, and the staff of those libraries can help point those who need help in the right direction. In some places, funding for libraries is being slashed. This is a short-sighted policy and will only set back the cause of literacy. Public libraries should receive our support so that they remain a vital part of our society.