Beyond Literacy is a thought experiment. A “what if” kind of investigation about something that is so close to us, so intimate, and yet also just a technology – a tool that can be improved or perhaps replaced. This “book-like-thing” explores the possibility of a post-literate future. That is, a future in which literacy (reading and writing; visible language) has been displaced, replaced, or exceeded by a new or evolved capacity, capability or tool. From the perspective of a literate person, the idea of a post-literate world seems frightening. It isn’t. At least it needn’t be. Beyond Literacy views this possibility not as some new Dark Age but instead as a kind of liberation of human ability and interaction. Beyond Literacy is about a positive future. Think about it as a search for Alphabet 2.0.
Until January 2012 Michael Ridley was the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Librarian at the University of Guelph. During his recent sabbatical he completed his “book-like-thing” on literacy and an MEd from the University of Toronto (among other projects). Ridley has been a professional librarian since 1979 working at a variety of positions at the University of Guelph, the Health Sciences Library at McMaster University, and the University of Waterloo. In 2007 he was named Academic Librarian of the Year by the Ontario Library Association and in 2010 he received the Miles Blackwell Award for Outstanding Academic Librarian from the Canadian Library Association. The Faculty of Information Alumni Association of the University of Toronto recently awarded Ridley its Outstanding Alumni Award. He blogs at www.MichaelRidley.ca and is on Twitter @mridley.