The Center for the Book promotes literacy by supporting individual projects, promoting ideas and projects through its partnership networks and providing Web site links to literacy organizations worldwide. Its national reading promotion network, which consists of more than 90 national educational organizations, includes the major literacy organizations in the United States and more than 20 groups that promote literacy around the world.
For links to literacy organization Web sites, visit the Center for the Book's Web site (www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook) and consult either the "Literacy" heading under Related Organizations and Programs or the list of Reading Promotion Partners.
The center's Web site is becoming an increasingly important resource and clearinghouse for information not only about literacy projects, but also about the publications and the book, reading and library promotion projects of the national center at the Library of Congress and its affiliated centers in 41 states and the District of Columbia. In September 2000, the number of transactions on the Center for the Book's Web site reached an all-time high (53,737), double the number of transactions for September 1999 (23,926).
New Adult Literacy Report
Issued by the National Coalition for Literacy Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole represented the Library of Congress on Sept. 7 at a luncheon and panel discussion in the Rayburn House Office Building that marked the release by the National Coalition for Literacy of new recommendations for strengthening America's national system of services to the millions of adults who have low literacy skills.
The report, From the Margins to the Mainstream: An Action Agenda for Literacy, was developed through National Literacy Summit 2000, an extensive public-private effort led by the National Institute for Literacy. Major support was provided by the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds. The report's recommendations focus on three areas: ensuring high-quality services for adults, enhancing access to those services and assembling sufficient resources to support both equality and access.
The National Coalition for Literacy, one of the Center for the Book's reading promotion partners, expects to hire staff to work with state organizations, local programs and others to implement the report's recommendations. From the Margins to the Mainstream: An Action Agenda for Literacy, is available online at www.nifl.gov/coalition/nclhome.htm or by calling the National Institute for Literacy at (800) 228-8813.
Carnegie Corporation Grant to Support Adult Literacy Project
The Carnegie Corporation has given the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress a $25,000 grant to administer an important new adult literacy project being undertaken by Gail Spangenberg of Spangenberg Learning Resources in New York City.
The grant provides partial support for a feasibility and planning project for a Blue Ribbon National Advisory Commission on Adult Literacy.
Family Literacy Workshops Held in Georgia and Oklahoma
"I extend a special welcome to Ms. Virginia Mathews, coordinator of the Center for the Book/Viburnum Foundation family literacy project and to our distinguished guests from Georgia and other states who are giving direction to this workshop." With these words in a letter dated Aug. 24, Georgia Gov. Roy E. Barnes sent his welcome to participants in the first of two family literacy workshops sponsored by the Center for the Book this past summer. Held in Decatur (Aug. 24-25) and Oklahoma City (Sept. 21-22), both were funded by the Viburnum Foundation and held in cooperation with state library agencies and local literacy organizations. Each was designed for representatives of rural libraries and their community partners that received family literacy grants in 2000 from the Viburnum Foundation. Participants learned about local family literacy resources and were introduced to effective family literacy practices and techniques.
In 1998, the Viburnum Foundation awarded the Center for the Book a three-year grant to administer the Viburnum Family Literacy Project and, when appropriate, expand its coverage. For 2000, the foundation made 40 grants of $3,000 apiece to small public libraries in seven states: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Ms. Mathews, the center's consultant for the Viburnum Foundation/Center for the Book Family Literacy Project, is assisted by Anne Boni, the center's program specialist, and executive assistant Patricia White.
IFLA Section on Reading Focuses on 'Libraries and Literacy'
Following up on its successful programs at the 66th annual conference in Jerusalem (see Information Bulletin, August-September 2000), the Section on Reading of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), chaired by Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, is developing new guidelines for libraries to use in promoting literacy and sponsoring library-based programming. The section has produced a 45-page booklet, Library-Based Programming to Promote Literacy, containing four papers presented at its workshop in Jerusalem. Separate bibliographies listing articles and monographs about "Libraries and Literacy" are appended. Single copies are available for free from the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4920, e-mail: [email protected]
New Partnership Supports International Literacy Day
On Sept. 8 at the Library of Congress, the Center for the Book and 12 other organizations that promote literacy internationally, hosted an all-day celebration of International Literacy Day (see Information Bulletin, October 2000.) International Literacy Day was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1967 as an annual celebration that calls attention to the importance of improving literacy skills worldwide. During the 1990s the International Reading Association, one of the organizations that presents a literacy prize on each International Literacy Day, and the Center for the Book began co-hosting the U.S. annual celebration. An expanded event including several new organizations was held in 1999 at the World Bank, and the partnership and range of activities expanded even further in 2000 at the Library of Congress.
In addition to the International Reading Association and the Center for the Book, the International Literacy Day partnership now includes the Association of American Publishers, the International Literacy Institute, the National Institute for Literacy, Reach Out and Read, Reading Is Fundamental, SIL International, the United Nations Children's Fund, UNESCO, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Education; and the World Bank. More organizations will join the partnership for International Literacy Day 2001. For further information about International Literacy Day, visit the Calendar of Events section of the UNESCO Web site: www.unesco.org.
A highlight on Sept. 8 was an afternoon panel discussion about a newly released U.S. Dept. of Education study, Benchmarking Adult Literacy in America: An International Comparative Study, by Albert Tuijnman of the Institute of International Education in Stockholm, Sweden. The study presents 10 international indicators that allow readers to compare the literacy proficiency of Americans with that of other populations. The 57-page monograph, which draws on a large database developed by the International Adult Literacy Survey (1994-1998), is available from the U.S. Dept. of Education Publications Center, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398, (877) 576-7734; Web site: www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html.