Laurel Brunner discusses the importance of literacy and its effect on the print and online markets. Printers from around the world are joining literacy programmes and volunteering to produce reading materials for underprivileged children.
Reviewing technology and the processing of raw materials is only one part of the industry’s sustainability picture. It is easy to forget that if people don’t read, then whole print and online markets for magazines, books and newspapers are lost.
In the developed world, it is easy to take literacy and reading for granted. Currently illiteracy plays a huge part in numerous problems between communities. Literacy is vital and even though the graphics industry has been quite lax in this regard, Kodak stands out as the exception.
Kodak recently announced that it is growing its global literacy programme to increase the number of children’s books and school supplies produced. The “Print For Good” programme has created a new network whereby volunteer printing companies within the Kodak Sonora customer base can join. Printers who sign up to this programme commit to printing at least 2000 copies of original children’s book titles or school notebooks, depending on what is needed in their region. Kodak is also establishing local partnerships with the aim of distributing the materials through schools and non-profit organisations.
The programme operates worldwide and widens Kodak’s scope to incorporate volunteer companies. In 2017, over 30,000 books were provided to underprivileged children in the USA, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. “Print For Good” provided the funds for a brand new library in a Haitian orphanage and prayer booklets for deprived children in Israel. All of this effort helps to build communities; however, this is not enough.
Kodak is also partnering with the “Room To Read” literacy programme which works with local communities, schools, families and governments to encourage and support literacy amongst women and girls in Asia. This programme aims to change the general attitude towards literacy, education and human rights. Working together, Kodak, the “Room To Read” literacy programme and the local government provide books to a primary school in Rajasthan in India. The partnership also includes librarians and teachers who help the children with their learning.
Printers from across the world are joining the “Print For Good” programme and are volunteering to produce reading materials for children. Encouraging literacy helps communities to share their ideas and increases educational opportunities. Literacy is vital to sharing knowledge, political and economic engagement and developing plural societies. These are all reasons enough to support literacy initiatives. They also encourage reading, using print is an additional bonus and one that the graphics industry should both welcome and support.
by Laurel Brunner