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Investing in Literacy in Pope County

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Generous support from individuals, foundations and corporations provides funding to expand the Pope County Libraries and fund programs that promote literacy an investment in Pope County. Literacy increases income, employment, and health among other benefit. The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy estimates that 14% of Arkansans 18 and over lack basic prose literacy skills. Food insecurity in Pope County is 18%.

The PCLS Foundation seeks to increase literacy by expanding its libraries to contain programs for area residents.

Illiteracy, the inability to read or write, costs the global economy an estimated $1.19 trillion annually, a new report from the World Literacy Foundation finds The Economic and Social Cost of Illiteracy: A Snapshot of Illiteracy in a Global Context” (18 pages, PDF) examined the impact of illiteracy in developing, emerging, and developed countries and found, in all three categories, clear-cut links to poverty, unemployment, long-term illness, dependence on welfare or charity, social exclusion, and crime. The report calculates the cost of illiteracy due to lost earnings and business productivity, missed wealth-creation opportunities, and inadequate high-tech skills capacity at 2 percent of GDP for developed countries, 1.2 percent for emerging economies, and 0.5 percent for developing countries — and puts the opportunity cost associated with illiteracy at $250 million for Iceland, $1.4 billion for Bangladesh, and $300 billion for the United States. To reduce and eventually eliminate those costs, the report’s authors recommend establishing adult and parental literacy programs; improving school attendance and retention strategies; securing resources, training, and technology for literacy efforts; and strengthening national governments’ commitment to literacy initiatives.