The Center for the Book promotes literacy through publications and projects, by supporting literacy efforts of its state affiliates and by providing information about literacy organizations and their activities on its Web site (www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook). Many of these organizations, for example, Laubach Literacy, Literacy Volunteers of America, the National Center for Family Literacy, the National Center on Adult Literacy, the National Coalition for Literacy and the National Institute for Literacy are members of the Center for the Book's 10-year-old Reading Promotion Partners network.
Family Literacy Workshops Held in Texas and Louisiana
"I left the workshop with renewed enthusiasm" was a common comment on participant evaluation sheets for two family literacy workshops sponsored by the Center for the Book this summer. With funding from the Viburnum Foundation and held in cooperation with state library agencies and local literacy organizations, the workshops took place in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 19-20, and in Baton Rouge, La., on Aug. 26-27. About 100 people took part in each workshop, designed for representatives of rural libraries and communities that received family literacy grants in 1999 from the Viburnum Foundation.
"Our training workshops emphasize the importance of meaningful, ongoing partnerships with other youth and family-serving agencies," said project coordinator Virginia H. Mathews. "This year we emphasized the connections between literacy and health and between literacy and at-risk behavior. I was pleased that our speakers representing health providers and juvenile justice received excellent evaluations. We are trying to demonstrate the practical truth in what the World Health Organization recently said about health itself: that it encompasses physical, mental and social well being -- not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
In 1998 the Viburnum Foundation awarded the Center for Book a three-year grant to administer the Viburnum Family Literacy Project and, when appropriate, to expand it (see LC Information Bulletin, November 1998.) This year, the foundation made small grants totaling $120,000 directly to 40 small rural libraries in seven Southern 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 Patricia White, executive assistant. "Special thanks for supporting the 1999 workshops goes to Jeanette Larson and her staff at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Marsie Cate of the New Mexico Center for the Book and Gale Criswell of the State Library of Louisiana," said Ms. Boni.
Both workshops opened with dramatizations and storytelling performances. In Texas, Anita Rizley of the Austin Public Library introduced a performance of "Beauty and the Beast" by the Hand-to-Mouth Theatre. Next, with theater director Ellen Scott and Amanda Williams, a consultant to the Central Texas Library System, she led a discussion about using puppets with children. In Louisiana, the Playmakers of Baton Rouge, led by Pabby Arnold of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, demonstrated how books could be brought to life through drama. Ms. Criswell led the discussion.
Both programs on the second day started with a presentation by Ms. Mathews: "Kids Can't Wait for Family Literacy and Libraries," which included the viewing of a short video and a discussion. Specific topics were addressed next, featuring presentations and discussions led by different speakers who represented various segments of the local community. Topics and speakers at each workshop are listed below.
What We've Learned, What We Need to Know About Partnerships. Austin: Valeri McElligott and Karen Carbajal, Moriarty Library, Moriarty, N.M.; Jere Rolf, Bureau of Child Health, Texas Department of Health; Susan Roman, American Library Association, facilitator. Baton Rouge: Mary Hedrick, Shelby County Libraries, and Charleen Warren, Baptist Medical Center, Alabama; Lois Roberts, Statesboro Regional Library, Georgia; Rachel Hausmann, Family Health Center, Baton Rouge General Hospital; Annie Lucas Brown, Public Library Services, Alabama State Library, facilitator.
More Connections: Literacy, Libraries and Prevention. Austin: District Court Judge Wilford Flowers, Austin; Gary Stailey, chief probation and parole officer, New Mexico; Christy Ball, Silver City Library, N.M.; Jennifer Sauter, Connections Resource Center, Austin, facilitator. Baton Rouge: Judge Kathleen Stewart-Richey, Juvenile Court, Baton Rouge; Beverly Allen-Vincent, librarian, Jetson Correctional Center for Youth, Baton Rouge; Dona Herring-Smith, Public Library, Homewood, Ala.; Virginia Mathews, facilitator.
Resources for Family Literacy Programs: Policy, Materials, Volunteers, Additional Funding, Sites and Facilities, Transportation and Outreach, Publicity. Austin: Joleen Montoya, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, N.M.; Beth Ann Bryan, Governor's Business Council and the Texas First Lady's Family Literacy Initiative; Jeanette Larson, Library Development Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission; Anita Roesler, Community Services Coordinator, Oklahoma City; Lorie Ochoa, Family Literacy Center, University of Texas at Austin, facilitator. Baton Rouge: Janie Starks, Partnerships in Child Care/Volunteers of America; Dianne Brady, Prime Time, Louisiana; Lucille McDowell, Louisiana Public Broadcasting; Patsy Perritt, School of Library and Information Science, Louisiana State University; Gale Criswell, facilitator.
Measuring and Evaluating Outcomes: How, and Who Needs to Know? Austin: Gwen Chance, Texas Head Start Coordinator; Effie Franklin, Even Start and Family Literacy, Texas Education Agency; Betty Carter, Professor of Library Science, Texas Women's University; Renee Yocum, Chickasaw Regional Library System, Tishomingo, Okla., facilitator. Baton Rouge: Shirley Williams, Head Start State Collaboration Officer, Baton Rouge; Pam Wall, State Literacy Resource Center, Baton Rouge; Margaret Murray, Development Services, Mississippi Library Commission; Molly Kinney, State Library of Georgia, facilitator.
Literacy Coalition Meets at the Library
On Sept. 9, in the Library's Montpelier Room, the Center for the Book co-hosted the National Coalition for Literacy Awards Dinner. Advancement for Literacy Awards were announced for Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), two of the Senate's strongest literacy supporters. Coalition chair and Laubach Literacy Action Executive Director Peter Waite also presented awards to five "unsung heroes" in literacy promotion: Garrett Murphy, National Council of State Directors of Adult Education; Sheila Murphy, Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest; Jane Oates, education adviser, office of Sen. Kennedy; Cecilia Rouse of Princeton University, former special assistant to the president, the White House; and Greg Williamson, education adviser, office of Sen. Murray.
Head Start to Literacy
A Library Head Start to Literacy: The Resource Notebook for the Library-Museum-Head Start Partnership contains practical ideas and information about how Head Start teachers, participants and parents can promote family literacy through collaborations with librarians and museum specialists who serve children. The result of a major Center for the Book-Head Start project in 1992-1997, the book has been distributed to Head Start programs throughout the country. Its authors are Virginia H. Mathews and Susan Roman, executive director of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Published by the Center for the Book in cooperation with Head Start and ALSC, the 295-page volume is available for $6.50 from the American Library Association (ALA). Contact ALA Order Fulfillment, (800) 545-2433 x7.