06.05.2008 -

UNESCO helps measure information literacy among residents of an Indian metropolitan city

The Department of Library and Information Science, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India, in association with UNESCO, completed a research study to measure information literacy competency and reading habits amongst the urban and semi-urban habitants in a metropolitan city in India.

UNESCO releases a report on this research entitled Information Literacy Competency and Readership Study of Five Specific Localities in Urban, Industrial and Semi-Urban Areas of Kolkata Metropolitan City.


The study sought to identify and critically examine the information literary competency and reading habits of mixed habitants, having contrasting professions or vocations. More particularly, the study had the following objectives:

  • to assess the readership of people from different social strata of five specific localities of Kolkata metropolitan city;
  • to measure the encroachment of different media on people's reading habit;
  • to find out the probable causes behind the difference in pattern of the reading habits of people in different localities of Kolkata;
  • to assess the role played by public libraries in promoting reading habits; and
  • to map the information literacy level of people living in urban, industrial and semi-urban areas of Kolkata.

This study illustrates information seeking behaviour of diverse groups of habitants, including youths, women, industrial workers and elderly persons. The report concludes that the number of men who do not read regularly far exceeds the number of women in the same category, and that women are more prone to use libraries for satisfaction of their reading needs. Among the non-print media, television attracted most respondents. The study also demonstrated that, despite the electronic media boom, reading still survives.


The public libraries in the city play wider role to inculcate reading habits amongst youths and neo-literates. This study suggests that information literacy competency and lifelong education can also be imparted to marginalised groups through public library networks in the country.


The study report is available online: <a target="_blank" href="ev.php?URL_ID=26726&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201">click here</a>.

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