Literacy is at the heart of everything we do here at Better World Books. We support literacy through our work with our 5 literacy partners, through funding, book donations, and our LEAP Grants. But a few weeks ago, as we chatted about poverty in the UK – a staggering 3.5 million children are growing up in poverty today in the UK alone– we decided that we wanted to do more.
Our first-hand experience of the transformative power of books and literacy bolsters our belief that good education can break the cycle of poverty; and with this in mind, on Friday 19th June, we hosted our first Literacy & Sustainability conference at our offices in Dunfermline, the birthplace of businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
Joined by leading thinkers and practitioners, we set out to provide people from a variety of organisations across different sectors with the opportunity to learn, share, and connect, coming together to tackle literacy and sustainability challenges.
Energetic networking sessions afforded participants the opportunity to liaise with like-minded people in a variety of fields, over a wonderful lunch provided by cause driven, Edinburgh based caterers Social Bite.
Our guest speakers brought a wealth of experience and knowledge, from the strategic level to day to day implementation. Dustin Holland, our own Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, emphasised the importance of partnership in creating a sustainable business with People, Planet, and Profit at its core. Marc Lambert, Director of Scottish Book Trust, enlightened us to the wider definitions of literacy, a human right and an ability that no one can properly partake in society without. Mary Bambrick, Executive Committee Member for the National Adult Literacy Agency, looked toward a world in which attending a literacy class was without stigma, comparable to attending a cooking class or a tennis club.
Fife Cultural Trust’s Service Development Team Leader, Maggie Gray, stressed the importance of delivery when reading to children, turning parents from story-readers into story-tellers. Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, demonstrated that the people who are losing out the most in society have the most to gain through literacy. Finally, Geoff Robotham, Chairman of Green Business Fife, defined sustainability as the ability to continue a process indefinitely, environmentally, economically, and socially. He noted that a wasteful, linear economy is changing into a circular economy of reuse.
The talks culminated in a lively and enthusiastic panel session led by Geoff and conducted by the day’s speakers, joined by our very own Librarian and Acquisitions Representative Vanessa Jones.
As we read over the feedback from our guests, we’re excited to think about and plan next year’s event.
“Superb event, good mix of speakers and excellent networking opportunities.”
“Great speakers and gave me lots of food for thought re. connection between literacy and sustainability.”
“Lovely, friendly, efficient staff!”
“Loved the warehouse tour, great to see the journey of the book.”
“Really appreciated meeting with like-minded people and learning about Better World Books.”
“I’ve learned a lot and have a load of ideas to take forward in my job.”