Sunday, February 28, 2016

Literacy – Spanning North America: British Columbia CA :: Tulare Co CA :: Amherst MA :: Franklin Co NY :: Benton Co AR

Reach a Reader: Tutor enjoys chatting
Williams Lake Tribune: 1.26.2016 by Gaeil Farrar

Helping adults to improve their reading skills has become a richly rewarding experience for Val Biffert.

Seven years ago, Val took her first tutor training course with Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy after seeing an advertisement in The Tribune.

Since then she has tutored three new Canadian women whose first language was not English.

“Tutoring opens new doors for me and in return I am opening new doors for my students,” Val says. “I love learning about new cultures and feel that I have an insider’s view of my learner’s birth country. Watching my learner gain confidence is very rewarding. So, it is a win-win situation.”  READ MORE @



In the early 1980s, Preston Miller, a Malone native, was troubled by the low level of reading skills in Franklin County. He was convinced that reading was a human right and chose to help those who were unable to perform many daily tasks because of their low literacy skills.

Literacy changes lives for better
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: 1.17.2016 by April Robertson

Four years ago, Sharon Nisen was sitting at a table during Scrabble Wars.

She was enjoying the evening -- having played an energetic round of the board game, perused the silent auction and had a nice dinner. But during the slideshow that explained the need for the Literacy Council of Benton County, Nisen was shocked to learn that 45,000 adults in Northwest Arkansas don't know how to read.

Those family values drove Nisen into business, where she spent four decades working for major companies and led her sister into a career as a teaching doctor. Shortly before that sister died, she encouraged Nisen to become a dedicated volunteer.  READ MORE @

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thirty museums and libraries honored as finalists for National Medal Award

Thirty museums and libraries honored as finalists for National Medal Award
News & Events: 2.23.2016

The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced 30 finalists for the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 22 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

“The 2016 National Medal finalists make lasting differences in their communities by serving and inspiring the public,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We proudly recognize these museums and libraries for their invaluable work to provide Americans with educational resources, 21st century skills, and opportunities for lifelong learning. As key stewards of our nation’s future, we salute the 30 finalists for their excellence in engaging our citizenry and expanding learning of all kinds.”

IMLS is encouraging those who have visited finalist libraries and museums to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page: Share Your Story series. Follow the #ShareYourStory beginning February 24 where our finalists’ communities share their good works

The 2016 finalists of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service are:

•Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn, New York)
•Dallas Public Library (Dallas, Texas)
•Haines Borough Public Library (Haines, Alaska)
•Illinois Fire Service Institute Library (Champaign, Illinois)
•James E. Brooks Library at Central Washington University (Ellensburg, Washington)
•Juneau Public Libraries (Juneau, Alaska)
•Kitsap Regional Library (Bremerton, Washington)
•Longmont Public Library (Longmont, Colorado)
•Madison Public Library (Madison, Wisconsin)
•North Carolina State University Libraries (Raleigh, North Carolina)
•Otis Library (Norwich, Connecticut)
•Richland Library (Columbia, South Carolina)
•San Mateo County Libraries (SMCL) (San Mateo, California)
•Santa Ana Public Library (Santa Ana, California)
•Terrebonne Parish Library System (Houma, Louisiana)

•Chicago History Museum (Chicago, Illinois)
•Children’s Museum Tucson (Tucson, Arizona)
•Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, South Carolina)
•Dallas Holocaust Museum (Dallas, Texas)
•The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (Amherst, Massachusetts)
•Fitchburg Art Museum (Fitchburg, Massachusetts)
•Honolulu Museum of Art (Honolulu, Hawaii)
•Imagination Station, Toledo’s Science Center (Toledo, Ohio)
•Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (Wausau, Wisconsin)
•Lynn Meadows Discovery Center for Children (Gulfport, Mississippi)
•Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs, Arkansas)
•Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (Santa Cruz, California)
•Nantucket Historical Association (Nantucket, Massachusetts)
•Tomaquag Museum (Exeter, Rhode Island)
•Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, New York)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Library of Congress Literacy Awards Initiates State Program

Library of Congress Literacy Awards Initiates State Program

Seven State Centers for the Book Announce Prizes; Five More Centers to Participate in 2016

Literacy promoters in seven states have received awards through state centers for the book, supported by the Library of Congress Literacy Awards program. The awards were granted to projects and individuals in California, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

The awards were the result of a pilot project implemented in 2015 to enable affiliates of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress to recognize the excellent work being done in their states. Each participating state received a $1,000 contribution either to create a literacy award or to become an affiliate with an existing awards program in their state.

Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards program was established in 2013 to recognize and honor organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States and abroad. In its first three years, 54 organizations have been cited for their outstanding contributions to promoting literacy.

Because of the success of the pilot project, the state-level awards will continue in 2016 and be expanded to also include Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina.

"The Literacy Awards program advisory board is encouraging increased participation in 2016," John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book, said. "The inclusion of affiliated state centers, along with other national and international groups that have never before applied, will help us achieve this goal."

Each state award is administered through the affiliated state center for the book, which sets eligibility and judging criteria and names the winner.

The seven 2015 state awards went to a wide variety of individuals and organizations, described below:

California: A partnership between the California Center for the Book and the California Library Association recognizes an individual librarian "who has demonstrated passion, excellence and dedication in support of adult literacy." The winner was Jayanti Addleman of Monterey County Free Libraries.

Iowa: The award developed by the Iowa Center for the Book recognizes an organization "that has made an outstanding contribution to increasing literacy in the state." The awardee was a county organization, Raising Readers, in Story County, Iowa.

Louisiana: The Louisiana Center for the Book and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities created an award to honor "an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to literacy efforts throughout the state." Ann Dobie, a retired English professor who taught for nearly 40 years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette while actively promoting literacy through several projects, received the award.

Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Center for the Book sought nominations of projects effectively carried out in partnership with libraries throughout the state. The award went to the Literacy Volunteers of the Montachusett.

Michigan: The Michigan award, developed by the Michigan Center for the Book, honors an organization for its literacy work with elementary school-age children. Nominations are open to public libraries or friends of public libraries in Michigan. The winner was Orion Township Public Library.

Rhode Island: The award honors a project in the Rhode Island library community. The nominated program can "be a component of library service, a community organization housed in a library, or a project that operates in close cooperation with the nominating library." The prize was awarded to the West Warwick Public Library Literacy Department.

Wisconsin: The award goes to an organization "that has made an outstanding contribution to promoting literacy in the state." The prize winner was the Buffalo Pepin Literacy Alliance.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: Dallas TX :: Genesee Co NY :: Grand Rapids MI :: Alamance Co NC :: Milford CT

Parkland Hospital
study on the literacy gap


Adult learners from the Literacy Center of West Michigan share their writing
Learners enrolled in the Family Literacy Program, at West Godwin Elementary, practiced their writing skills by writing encouraging letters to their children.




Sunday, February 14, 2016

Literacy – Spanning the US: Westmoreland Co PA :: Nashville TN :: NY NY :: Joplin MO :: Manatee Co FL

YWCA of Westmoreland County adds literacy center
Trib Live: 1.15.2016 by Jacob Tierney

The YWCA of Westmoreland County now has a refurbished area where you can go to brush up on your English or improve reading skills crucial to daily life.

A former ballroom in the Huff Mansion on North Main Street in Greensburg's Academy Hill Historic District has been renovated into a literacy center that opened about a month ago.

“We did it on a shoestring,” Maggie O'Leary, literacy program director, said of the renovation work that took about a year to complete.

Workers added a wall to provide privacy, replaced the ceiling, refurbished the floor and built cubicles that will serve as study spaces for tutors to work with their pupils.

Thanks to volunteer efforts and donated equipment, the project cost less than $1,000, according to YWCA Executive Director Kathy Raunikar.

The new center ties in to the YWCA's goal to expand its literacy efforts, Raunikar said.

“Having a space where they can all come is certainly going to help in growing the program,” she said.

The literacy program serves two main groups: adults who lack reading skills and people whose second language is English.

“There's a large number of the population that don't read above an eighth-grade level, sometimes not above a fifth-grade level,” O'Leary said.  READ MORE @

Touching video highlights Tennessee man’s journey to literacy
WKRN: 1.15.2016

A touching video spotlights a Nashville man who has overcome a lifelong secret.

Joseph Buford learned to read later in life through programs supported by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Now, Kleenex is documenting his success story.

Buford said he spent most of his life hiding that he couldn’t read.

“It was terrifying, it was actually terrifying. It’s almost like the world walked off and left you behind; that’s the way I felt,” Buford explained.

He told News 2  he led a double life.

“My children would bring me something and want me to read it to them and I would always have an excuse,” he recalled, adding that his wife didn’t even know.

“I said if you want to divorce me, leave me I’ll understand,” he said.

Buford’s wife stuck beside him he found help at the Nashville Adult Literacy Council.

“There is over 30 million adults in the United States who read at one of the lowest levels of literacy,” Denine Torr with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation told News 2.

According to Torr, for more than a decade the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has been providing funding for the Nashville Adult Literacy Council to help those like Buford.  VIDEO

NYPL Blog: 1.14.2016 by Elaine Sohn, Volunteer, Aguilar Library, Adult Learning Center


Project Light teaches English to Manatee County residents
Bradenton Herald: 1.18.2016 by Claire Aronson

When Victor Diaz moved to the United States from Colombia with his wife 14 years ago, neither of them could speak English, but they were determined to learn.

Through classes at Project Light, a nonprofit English language school, the 89-year-old can now speak English. While in his second level of English classes at the literacy center, 1104 14th St. W., Bradenton, Diaz comes every day just to practice his conversational English because, he says, it's the best way to learn.

"I don't have people to practice with at home," Diaz said. "I come here every day to learn. I like coming here. It's an opportunity for me to practice. I need to practice every day."

On Monday, Diaz, along with about 15 other people, took part in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, organizing new libraries and materials at Project Light and labeling books for check out. Project Light received a $2,000 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service grant from Occupy Bradenton, which was a recipient of a grant from State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota.

With the grant, Project Light was able to set up two libraries -- one for teacher resources and the second for reading and practice materials for the students. There are also books to prepare for GED and citizenship exams.

Now students such as Diaz will be able to take books home to continue practicing outside of class.

"It will also encourage them to read outside of the classroom and read with children," said Chris MacCormack, Project Light program director. "We are going to encourage them to sit down and read with children. I really hope they are going to use these libraries."  READ MORE @