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.

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