July 6, 2004 12 Family Literacy Projects Receive Support from the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress

Funds Will Support "Reading Powers the Mind" Programs

Press Contact: Bibi Martí (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

Twelve projects will receive support in 2004-2005 as part of the Center for the Book's new "Reading Powers the Mind" family literacy program, said John Y. Cole, Director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Each project is in a different state and involves partnerships developed between the participating library and state and community organizations; partnership organizations come from both the government and the private sector.

Participating libraries and many of their partners will take part in the Center for the Book's "Reading Powers the Mind" family literacy workshop at the Library of Congress on July 21-23. Observers are welcome at the workshop; however, they must register with the Center for the Book by July 16 by contacting the Center for the Book at (202) 707-5221.

Library workshop participants also will include representatives from U.S. government agencies and nonprofit national organizations dedicated to family literacy issues. The government agencies are the National Head Start Bureau, the Department of Education, and the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention. The nonprofit organizations, many of them national reading promotion partners of the Center for the Book, include the American Library Association; ASPIRA, an organization that advances the aspirations of Latino youth; the Center for Summer Learning; the Child Welfare League of America; the Council for Exceptional Children; the National Association for the Education of Young People; the National Black Child Development Institute; the National Council of La Raza; and Zero to Three, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of infants, toddlers and their families.

The "Reading Powers the Mind" program will test several types of potential library-community partnerships that could be replicated in different communities, depending on local circumstances. Whenever feasible, a state center for the book will be involved in the program. Funding for "Reading Powers the Mind" has been provided by a recent $409,000 contribution to the Center for the Book from the Viburnum Foundation. From 1998 to 2003, the foundation awarded $3,000 grants to 222 rural libraries in 10 states as part of the Center for the Book/Viburnum Foundation Family Literacy Project. During this six-year period, the national center, often with help from its affiliated state centers, organized and staffed 12 two-day training workshops throughout the country.

Participating "Reading Powers the Mind" libraries and their projects are listed below:

ALABAMA - The Ashland Public Library and the B.B. Comer Memorial Library in Sylacauga, in conjunction with the Ashland Head Start program, the Clay County Department of Human Resources and the Clay County Arts League, will present a project aimed at troubled youth. The Comer Library will target clients of the Sylacauga Alliance for Family Literacy, which helps parents learn how to use local library and community resources.

ARIZONA - The Chandler Public Library will promote literacy and library use among families residing in public housing by visiting three public housing sites for a four-week series of programs at each site. Each visit will include a central theme focused on a particular need within that population, such as nutrition or fire and water safety. Bilingual story time presentations and talks by area resource professionals will highlight the week's theme. At the end of each session, each child will receive a new book to take home.

ARKANSAS - The Fort Smith Public Library will revitalize its retired bookmobile program, transforming it into a mobile library "story time on wheels" that will visit child care and family centers to teach parents and children how to read together. Community partners will include Fort Smith United Way, the Even Start/Parent as Teachers program in the Fort Smith Public Schools and Fort Smith Head Start Child and Family Services Inc.

GEORGIA - The Clayton County Library System, headquartered in Jonesboro, will make presentations every two weeks to new classes of parents in the county's "Welfare to Work" program. The organizational partners are the Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services; the Clayton County Extension Office, a division of the University of Georgia; two elementary schools; and the "Kinship Care" project, part of a multiagency task force headed by the state library.

LOUISIANA - The Vermilion Parish Library, through its Abbeville branch, will present "We Can Make It," a series of programs aimed at at-risk families. A key objective is to make care givers aware of important issues and community resources regarding children's health, education and safety. Community partners include the Vermilion Parish Health Unit, the Acadiana Works Boys & Girls Club, the Vermilion Parish School Board and local fire and police departments.

MISSISSIPPI - The family literacy project developed by the Elizabeth Jones Library in Grenada promotes intergenerational events for participating parents and their children. Partners include the Adult Basic Education Program of the Grenada School District, the Grenada County Jail/Correctional Services Corporation and the Grenada Head Start Center.

NEW MEXICO - The Farmington Public Library and the Boys & Girls Club of Farmington are combining resources for "Power Library - Branch Library in the Club," a program that encourages club members and their families to read a story together and to record the experience on a cassette. In addition, parents or grandparents will retell the story in Spanish or Navajo. A photograph will be taken of the family and the cassette will be made available for Boys & Girls Club members. Community partners in this and related projects include the Mayor's Teen Advisory Council, the Farmington Daily Times, the San Juan County Partnership for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), the Head Start Center at San Juan College and the Shiprock Medical Center/San Juan Regional Medical Center for a "Books for Babies" project.

OKLAHOMA - The Public Library of Enid and Garfield County will present a family literacy project aimed at three audiences: Head Start children who will be entering kindergarten in the fall of 2004, Title I summer school students who need help with reading comprehension and Teen Library Aids who will mentor the children. The eight-week summer program will focus on library and community resources for supporting parental involvement in encouraging literacy. Every child involved in the target group will receive a book each week.

SOUTH CAROLINA - The York County Library in Rock Hill, in partnership with the Rock Hill Resource Center, is developing a project that will expand services for Hispanic families in York County. Together they will expand and promote the Library's Spanish collection, its Bilingual Family Story Time project and related outreach programs to the Hispanic community.

TENNESSEE - The Fentress County Public Library's family literacy project will focus on at-risk teens aged 12-18. The library will work with selected teens to help them deal with real life situations, linking the library and its resources to five stages and characteristics of teenage life: self-esteem (personal appearance, community service); education (tutoring, preparing for college); employment (interviews, work issues); financial issues (budgeting, bank visitation); and medical (sex education, physical checkups).

TEXAS - The Val Verde County Library in Del Rio has created the "Library-Power Box" program that encourages families and young adults to choose reading as one resource for examining and solving their current social and relationship issues. Partners include three Del Rio programs: STAR (Service to At-Risk Young) Family Services, the Del Rio High School Learning Center and the Blue Ribbon Program of the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans.

WEST VIRGINIA - The Summers County Public Library will present "Book Buddies," a reading mentoring program for struggling readers from the Summers County Middle School. The mentors will be volunteers from the Summers County High School book discussion group. As the program develops, parents of the participating students will be involved in reading and discussing the same books assigned to the students.


PR 04-129
ISSN 0731-3527