December 20, 2013 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program Publishes 'Best Practices' in Literacy Promotion

Work of 26 Semifinalists Is Featured

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards program, established in 2013 and announcing its first awards last September, has just published “Best Practices,” a review of the outstanding work in the field of literacy being done by the 26 semifinalists for the awards.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress administers the program, which is made possible by the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group and a major donor to the Library of Congress, including its annual National Book Festival.

“‘Library of Congress Literacy Awards 2013 Best Practices’ addresses the topic of literacy from the programmatic level and highlights the extraordinary efforts of the individuals, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations that applied for the awards,” said John Y. Cole, chair of the Literacy Awards program and director of the Center for the Book.

The Literacy Awards advisory board reviewed the 187 applications that were received from 28 U.S. states and 21 countries, narrowing them down to 26 semifinalists. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington made the final selections.

“Best Practices,” written by Maralita L. “Micki” Freeny, a librarian with more than 40 years of experience, identifies eight practices commonly employed by the semifinalists:

  • Facilitating access to print
  • Cultivating diverse partnerships
  • Leveraging of community resources
  • Assuring cultural relevance
  • Using technology
  • Developing writing skills
  • Reading aloud and storytelling
  • Fostering early intervention and family engagement

The report can be accessed on the Center for the Book’s website at The 2014 Library of Congress Literacy Awards program will soon be announced. For updates, go to and sign up for “Center for the Book & National Book Festival.”


The winners of the 2013 Library of Congress Literacy Awards were announced on Sept. 22, 2013, at the National Book Festival. They are:

  • The David M. Rubenstein Prize: Reach Out and Read ($150,000)
  • The American Prize: 826 National ($50,000)
  • The International Prize: PlanetRead ($50,000)

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at


PR 13-217
ISSN 0731-3527