Monday, February 27, 2017

National Literacy & Library Events :: March 2017

National Literacy & Library Events :: March 2017

Literacy & Library Events & Conferences
- Local, California and National -
the Southern California Library Literacy Network
for more information

Mar. 02 Read Across America Day
Mar. 02 World Book Day
Mar. 04 March Forth for Literacy
Mar. 04 National Grammar Day
Mar. 05 Teen Tech Week
Mar. 05 Arizona Adult Literacy Week
Mar. 09+ Health Literacy Conference, Portland OR
Mar. 13+ Everyone Reading Conference, CUNY NY
Mar. 13+ Plain Talk about Literacy and Learning, New Orleans LA
Mar. 16 Freedom of Information Day
Mar. 20 World Storytelling Day #WSD16
Mar. 21+ TESOL, Seattle WA
Mar. 25 National Black Writers Conference, CUNY Brooklyn
Mar. 27+ Open Education Week
Mar. 28+ Computers in Libraries, Arlington VA
Mar. 29+ Power of Play, Raleigh NC
Mar. 30+ American Occupational Therapy Assoc, Philadelphia PA
Mar. 31+ Literacy Connections Conf: Barbara Bush Foundation, New Gloucester ME

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Literacy – Spanning North America :: Greenwood Co SC :: Alberta CA :: Durham NC

Program aims to reduce adult illiteracy
Index Journal: 2.15.2017 by Ariel Gilreath

About 1 in 6 adults in Greenwood County are functionally illiterate, according to information gathered for the Greenwood County Library's adult literacy program.

The library has had the literacy program since 2012, but this year, a subcommittee with the Community Indicators Project is making adult literacy its focus.

Shirley Boyce, chairwoman for the Knowledge for Tomorrow subcommittee, said when the committee decided on adult literacy as its focus, the members looked to the library because it already had a program in place.

"Our committee explored and selected adult literacy as our focus area because we were concerned about educational attainment and its impact on Greenwood County having a trained workforce," Boyce said. "Expanding the program at the library appeared to be the best way to expedite this for our county."

Prudence Taylor, director of the library and member of the subcommittee, said the residents who are considered functionally illiterate are below a second-grade reading level.

"They can't read and understand the directions on a prescription bottle -- which has an impact on health because if you don't know how to take medicine correctly, you may either take too little or too much, take it at the wrong time or not at all," Taylor said.

Many of the adults who show up to the library's classes either are not native English speakers or have a learning disability that was never diagnosed, others dropped out of school, and some graduated high school but lost their comprehension skills over time from not reading.

Since no other library in the state has a program like Greenwood's, Taylor said she had to look to California for models to base the program on, but she didn't have the staff to run it.  READ MORE @

SACF grant helps Conversation Circle
St Albert Gazette: 2.15.2017 by Scott Hayes    

For years now, STAR Literacy has been breaking down the language barriers to citizens with non-English mother tongues. It offers this vital service by connecting its clients with tutors for free. In recent years, it has also offered a casual opportunity for groups of clients to meet at the library and just chat with a tutor to help out with tricky words.

The organization recently received a grant from the St. Albert Community Foundation to help keep this Conversation Circle going strong.

“It basically feeds the program,” stated Shelley Passek, STAR Literacy's head co-ordinator.

“The reason for that is so that anyone can attend the Conversation Circle and not limit it to certain populations of people. My grant from the government of Alberta has certain parameters for people who can access tutoring through my program. If they fall outside those parameters, I’m technically supposed to charge them or not offer them the service. The grant allows me to do that.”

Currently, 24 clients are engaged with literacy tutors and another 15 are on the waiting list while eight new tutors have just received training. Attendance for the Conversation Circle has remained fairly steady with a regular group of six and numerous other periodic attendees.  READ MORE @

Literacy center supports refugees and immigrants
Herald Sun: 2.17.2017 by Hana Haidar, Durham Literacy Center

According to the United Nations Refugee agency, an unprecedented 65 million people worldwide have been forced to leave their home countries. With an increasing fear of refugees and immigrants in the United States and Europe alike, organizations like the Durham Literacy Center remain steadfast in their mission to help these displaced individuals and families to make Durham their home. A cornerstone of the DLC’s mission and values is to cultivate self-efficacy in disadvantaged individuals.

Many people across the country and around the world have criticized President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. The order bars immigration of all nationals of seven majority Muslim countries, restricts the entry of all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely bans Syrian refugees from entering the United States altogether. Trump has inspired outrage, as the executive action rejects individuals from seeking security. The order bars individuals who are escaping war, violence, and persecution — violating what many consider not only a fundamental American value, but also an inherent human right — the right to self-determination.

Enrolled in the DLC’s various classes and programs are refugees from many countries including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, Thailand and most recently Syria. Forcibly displaced from their homes, these former teachers, healthcare providers, translators for the U.S. Armed Forces and war veterans attain and develop their literacy skills at the DLC. Such skills allow these individuals to not only navigate through, but also thrive, their new home environments.  READ MORE @

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Literacy – Spanning North America :: Ontario CA :: Ulster Co NY :: Somerset Co NJ

Innisfil library turns page on new literacy program
Barrie Literacy Council celebrating partnership with Innisfil ideaLAB and Library to help students improve literacy and math skills
SimCoe: 2.09.2017 by Janis Ramsay

Kyran Bess admits his literacy and math skills aren’t exactly where he’d like them to be.

The Innisfil man came to Canada in April 2009 after growing up in the Caribbean.

“I dropped out of school early and became the man of the house, providing for my brothers and sister and others,” Bess said. “I didn’t learn an education.”

He also found himself in conflict with the law. After overcoming those troubles, he eventually immigrated with the rest of his family.

In the fall, he approached the Barrie Literacy Council to upgrade his education.

He was partnered with volunteer Line Crickard and, for the first month, they met in Barrie.  READ MORE @

Want to help immigrants? Become a literacy tutor
Hudson Valley 1: 2.10.2017 by Frances Marion Platt

Whether our forebears trekked across the Aleutian land bridge before the last Ice Age, were dragged here in chains from Africa in the 18th century or landed at Ellis Island from Europe a mere century ago, pretty much all of us, ultimately, came to America from somewhere else. And all the bits of culture and talent and energy from all those different parts of the world have added up to a formula that we like to think makes this country pretty special. Not all our differences melt away to unrecognizability in that great melting pot, but our diversity is in many ways our greatest strength. People have been fleeing oppression and privation to get here for a long time now.

While some Americans apparently do approve of the idea of closing down our borders now that they’re safely here, many of us are profoundly troubled by recent developments in regard to national immigration policy. “Since when does this country exclude immigrants based on religion, race, ethnic group or country of origin?” we ask ourselves. “Aren’t we supposed to be a haven for refugees from less enlightened places?”

If you’re still wondering, “What can I do to help immigrants in these harsh times?” Kathe Nack has a practical idea for you. A Gardiner resident, Nack started looking around for some volunteer work to do in 2013, after retiring from her career doing art preparation and restoration for the art gallery at Vassar College. She spotted an ad from the Ulster Literacy Association (ULA) seeking volunteers to take a training course as an adult literacy tutor. After completing the class, she teamed up with another volunteer, Linda Hart, to start presenting a course in English as a Second Language at the Gardiner Library, geared toward the migrant farmworker population of southern Ulster County.

Conversation Groups Grow at North Plainfield Public Library and other County Libraries
TapInto: 2.13.2017 by Marina P Kennedy

Adults who wish to improve their English speaking skills are welcome to the North Plainfield Public Memorial Library on Monday nights for a “Conversation Group” that runs from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The gathering is an opportunity to practice speaking English in a relaxed, informal setting.

This is a free program for area residents sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County (LVSC) in association with the North Plainfield Public Library. The weekly class has many activities to encourage communication.  They include word games, and discussions about travel, food, news, and entertainment as well as some lessons on pronunciation and grammar.

Marina Kennedy has been instructing ESL groups for over 10 years.  She said that leading a conversation group has been both enjoyable and gratifying.  “There are so many nice people in the community who wish to have better speaking skills.  It is a pleasure to get together every week and have a chance to talk.”  She also commented that the group is friendly and welcoming. “Participants can come to every class or whenever they can make it.”

The students attend for many different reasons.  Some of the recent participants have joined so they can speak more where they work, communicate with their children’s teachers, help their children with homework, travel more, or to advance in their careers.  READ MORE @

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Pitt Co NC :: Temple TX :: Kauai HI

Addressing the illiteracy rate in eastern North Carolina
WNCT: 2.02.2017 by Maria Satira

In eastern North Carolina, one in five adults is illiterate.

That is according to numbers from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. North Carolina’s state average is about one in seven.

WNCT’s Maria Satira met with one young man in Pitt County who is part of that statistic and is now on the road to literacy.

“I was kind of far behind,” said Robert Gaskins. “So I just wanted to do something about that.”

The 21-year-old dropped out of school in ninth grade with a reading level of a sixth grader.

“I just felt like I didn’t have that in me to continue what I had to do to graduate. So I just quit,” admitted Gaskins.

Gaskin’s illiteracy is all changing thanks to Literacy Volunteers of Pitt County.

“We help stop that gap,” said Rhonda Billingslea.

Billingslea is the executive director of the organization, which serves the Pitt County community confidentially and at no cost. Robert has been joining Billingslea and her tutors five days a week since November.

“As they unfortunately drop out of high school, we’re there to catch them when they’re ready to come in, 21 or 22-years-old and they want a better job,” said Billingslea. “We’re there to help them on their skills.”

Better jobs lead to a stronger workforce, economic growth and healthier families.  VIDEO 📹

Bear Fest to benefit adult literacy program
Temple Daily Telegraph: 2.05.2017 by Melany Cox

The Temple Literacy Council will host the Literacy Love Bear Fest 3–6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Czech Heritage Museum and Genealogy Center.

The come-and-go event will benefit the Adult Literacy Program in the greater Temple area.

D. Kirkland, board chairwoman for TLC, said the bear theme was inspired by the Teddy Bear Bakery, which is located next door to the museum.
Kirkland said one of the fun activities that will be offered are the Bear Stories. Several volunteer readers will read pieces about bears. Kirkland said these can be anything from fiction, non-fiction, news stories, quotes or anything “bear” related.

The featured reader will be Kirk Lammert, owner of Teddy Bear Bakery. Kirkland said Lammert will read stories throughout the afternoon, interspersed with the volunteer readers.

She said everyone who attends the event will receive the gift of a teddy bear cookie and a drink.

The museum will also have tours to highlight elements that depict the legacy of literacy in Czech heritage.

“So anything in the Czech history or culture that was focused on language or the celebration of literacy will be highlighted,” Kirkland said.

There will also be posters and videos featuring TLC and their impact on the area in one of the museum galleries. Kirkland said the purpose of this is to bring awareness to the council.  READ MORE @

Hawaii Literacy seeking tutors
Island only has 3 volunteers
Garden Island: 2.102.017 by Alden Alayvilla

In December, the Hawaii Literacy program on Kauai had a steady number of tutors who volunteered their time to teach adult students.

The pool of 30 tutors, however, dwindled to the current figure of three.

Dennis Dresser, adult literacy coordinator on Kauai, is desperately seeking tutors willing to put in time to assist with adult illiteracy on the Garden Isle.

“I’m almost 86, (and) I need to get two to three tutors very quickly because I just can’t continue to run around all over town,” he said.

Dresser, who started the program on Kauai over a decade ago, said the goal of the nonprofit is to help anyone who is willing to learn.

“If we can get several people who want to be trained, it’s usually a two-day situation, usually two Saturdays,” he said.

Dresser’s wife, Claudia, trains potential tutors and may be able to shorten the training to a longer, one-day session.

About one in six adults have problems reading and writing in the state, including about 5,600 adults on Kauai, according to Hawaii Literacy.

In the nation, that number ranges between 30 million and 40 million.  READ MORE @

Friday, February 17, 2017

Health Library Initiative :: Libraries can be a health lifeline for people most at risk

Libraries can be a health lifeline for people most at risk

Fox News: 11.11.2016

Public libraries can provide vital support for people at high risk for health problems such as new immigrants and people dealing with homelessness, mental illness and substance use, say U.S. researchers.

Their analysis of Philadelphia libraries and how communities use them concludes that libraries can offer specific programs that directly and indirectly improve health, such as classes to improve skills or literacy. Librarians can also act as support figures, connecting people with resources for basic needs like housing.

"Some people would argue that libraries are old-fashioned, outmoded institutions that are irrelevant in the digital age," said senior study author Carolyn Cannuscio, a social epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, in email to Reuters Health. "Our work shows very clearly that libraries are vital, dynamic organizations that know their patrons well and respond creatively to community needs."

Cannuscio is also head of the Healthy Library Initiative, a partnership between U. Penn and the Free Library of Philadelphia, which has 54 locations around the city.

Relevant programs offered by the libraries included classes on nutrition, youth leadership, obtaining housing, job training, literacy and support for the elderly.

Overall, in 2015, the Free Library locations across Philadelphia received 5.8 million in-person visits. Half a million of these visits were from people participating in specialized programs or classes designed to improve social factors that affect health.

The library staff and the residents agreed that people at greatest risk for health issues were those experiencing homelessness, mental illness and substance use issues, in addition to recent immigrants and children and families suffering from trauma.

Librarians reported spending significant time helping to find treatment centers for people with mental health or substance use issues. Substance use was common in the city communities and librarians even had to help people who were immediately at risk for drug overdose.

The library also functioned as a physical shelter for homeless people. In addition, librarians helped residents complete housing applications and sort through legal challenges with landlords.

Recent immigrants frequently used library resources for a broad range of needs. Librarians helped them navigate social services, download and fill out forms related to getting insurance and healthcare or apply for jobs, communicate with lawyers, landlords, and schools and apply for citizenship.

Libraries also offered safe spaces for traumatized children and families, who were often witnesses of neighborhood violence.

Libraries are trusted places in communities and offer free access that may be more welcoming than other agencies, the Healthy Library Initiative researchers write in the journal Health Affairs.  READ MORE @

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Literacy – Spanning the US :: Lehigh Acres FL :: Madison Co NY :: Palm Beach Co FL

Growth spurt: Church to host adult literacy program
Lehigh Acres Citizen: 2.01.2017 by Mel Toadvine

An adult literacy program offered through Lehigh Community Services is being called a success.

Maria Otero, program coordinator, said it has grown so much that more room is needed for classes, where volunteer tutors teach English to the participants.
-"We are partnering with the Christ United Methodist Church," Charlotte Rae Nicely, the executive director of Lehigh Community Services, said.

They began holding classes last month at the church, at 1430 Homestead Road N.  "The church has graciously agreed to help us by letting us use their classrooms for the program," she said.

The program has been available for many years, and its main purpose is to teach English to non-English speaking adults. The program is free, but there is a waiting list for those interested in talking part.  READ MORE @

Madison County coalition shares success stories, ideas for promoting literacy
Oneida Dispatch: 1.31.2017

Leaders in the mission to increase literacy in Madison County gathered on Thursday, Jan. 26 with more than three dozen members of the Literacy Coalition of Madison County coming together to learn about and discuss key literacy initiatives in our region.

The meeting, which was held in the Gorman Foundation Community Center in Oneida, was a positive and energy-filled event.

“Every time this group of committed advocates for literacy comes together I can feel the passion and enthusiasm. I am convinced that we are continuing to make progress in our literacy efforts because this group has a shared goal of attacking literacy needs in Madison county,” Mike Drahos, the coalition executive director said.

The Literacy Coalition of Madison County NY was founded in 2009 and is committed to raising child, family, and adult literacy throughout the county. Over 50 community organizations are part of this combined effort to address literacy needs.  READ MORE @

Loop for Literacy co-chair enjoys sharing joy of reading
Palm Beach Post: 2.1.2017 by Michael Readling

Len Gray has seen both sides of the problem.

He’s seen adults and children who are unable to read and the trouble they have communicating their thoughts and feelings. And he’s seen the gigantic change just a little bit of effort and compassion can bring about.

He knows the look in someone’s eyes when the realization finally sets in. The one where that person knows “I can read.” And he knows the world that opens up for that person from that point forward.

“Our family has always believed that the ability to read enables the ability to think and write and express one’s self effectively,” Gray said. “To see that happen and experience how thrilling it is for someone who can understand things through reading, it just has such an impact on their lives and the well-being of our community.”

Gray and his wife, Barbara, got involved with the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County because her parents were very big supporters. Though they lived in places like Chicago, Cleveland and New York, whenever they visited Palm Beach County, they found themselves at Literacy Coalition events and functions.

When they moved here several years ago, the next step was obvious.

“We fell in love with what the Literacy Coalition was doing,” Gray said. “I went through their training program, where you learn how to read to others and help them become proficient readers.”  READ MORE @