“The Declaration for the Right to Literacy” scrolls are in Kalamazoo as one of their last stops before heading to Washington for presentation to President Obama on Sept. 22.
The scrolls were drawn up at a national literacy conference last year and have already been signed by thousands of citizens from 31 states. The scrolls are here through the efforts of Dr. Juan Olivarez, president of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, and a strong, vocal literacy advocate on the national and local level. We are pleased the library was asked to host the event to celebrate their arrival here and to kick-off the community signing.
About 100 representatives of education, businesses, and nonprofits gathered at KPL. Several spoke of their personal and organizational commitment to literacy before lining up to sign. I briefly outlined our commitment to preschool literacy through our Ready to Read program and storytimes.
Signing the scrolls shows support for literacy as a fundamental American freedom and that every American must be able to read and write to fully and equitably participate in community life.
As one of the speakers said, librarians are the original literacy champions. We are, but we are pleased to see literacy receive the broader attention it deserves. Signing is important, but more important is to do something about it within your own circle. You can start by reading to the children in your life every day or volunteering through our Ready to Read program or the Kalamazoo Literacy Council.
I hope you will have a chance to sign the scrolls while they are in Kalamazoo for a few days.
Ann Rohrbaugh, Valerie Wright and Lisa Godfrey sign the "Declaration for the Right to Literacy" scroll at KPL