Literacy for living examines the meaning of literacy in the lives of people in "Bridget's Harbour." Through ethnographic research and interviews with groups of people ranging in age from high school to senior adult and varying in degree of education/literacy, William Fagan probes the impact of literacy or lack of it on facets of their lives: social economic, religious, and cultural. The message is clear: "literate can not be understood in isolation from the larger socialcultural context."
Bridget's Harbour, like many Newfoundland communities, has had to cope with the closing of the cod fishery. People who were content with their lives and their use of literate within their lives were now thrust into a world of literacy, of form and regulations and rejection. The lessons about literacy from the people of Bridget's Harbour have many implications for literacy policy makers and program developers.
William T. Fagan is a recognized leader in literacy at local, national, and international levels. Dr. Fagan has been/is involved in many facets of literacy; as a university instructor and Director of the Reading and Language Centre at the University of Alberta, a writer of literacy materials, a researcher, and instructor of literacy learners in a variety of settings. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Chairperson of the Literacy Development Council, Newfoundland and Labrador.