Type of Document Dissertation Author Maatta, Stephanie Lee URN etd-09042003-151804 Title Adult Literacy Programs in Community Information Resource Centers in Florida: Comparative Case Studies Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Information Studies, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Jane B. Robbins Committee Chair F. William Summers Committee Member Gary Burnett Committee Member Penny Ralston Committee Member Keywords
- Adult Learner Resources
- Literacy Program Support
Date of Defense 2003-06-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis research sought to examine whether information literacy skills – being able to find
and use information to resolve daily issues – are being blended into conventional literacy
education; and whether low-literate adults use community information access centers, such as
public libraries, to find information for conducting their everyday lives. Three adult literacy programs around the State of Florida participated in a series of case studies that explored the relationships between conventional literacy skills and information literacy skills. Multiple methods of data collection were used: 1) a program questionnaire completed by literacy program coordinators; 2) two in-depth interviews with each program coordinator; 3) document analysis of instructional materials, assessment materials, and student writings; 4) a group interview with four literacy tutors; and 5) two site observations at each of the three program sites.
Results of this research suggest that adult literacy programs focus primarily on the
foundations of reading, particularly those that follow the national models of literacy education,
including Literacy Volunteers of America or Laubach Literacy International. The intent is to
improve the reading levels of low-literate adults in order to provide them with tools to function
in a text-based society. There is very little introduction to information resources or information technology.
However, the participating sites recognize a need for adult learners to use the range of
resources available for finding information and using it effectively to resolve everyday issues.
The consensus among the three literacy programs is that most information resources are designed
and written at an advanced reading level, and that the adults at the lowest reading levels are
unable to use them.
The findings also suggest that low-literate adults may be less likely to use community
information access centers, such as public libraries, because they either do not have ready access to the information centers or do not know how to use the resources that are available. The lowliterate adults in this study were more likely to use personal networks or mass media, excluding
newspapers, to find information for conducting everyday life.
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