March 14, 2014 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Advisory Board Adds Three Members

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

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has added three members to the Advisory Board of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards.

The new members are:

Anthony Bloome
Senior Education Technology Specialist, U.S. Agency for International Development
Director, All Children Reading: A Global Competition for Innovative Solutions to Advance Reading and Literacy

Michael Suarez. S.J.
Director, Rare Book School, University of Virginia
Former professor of English literature, Fordham University
Co-editor, The Oxford Companion to the Book (2010)

Christie Vilsack
Senior Adviser for International Education, U.S. Agency for International Development
Former first lady of Iowa, 1999-2007
Founder of the Iowa Center for the Book in the Iowa State Library, 2002

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards were conferred for the first time in fall 2013 to recognize and support outstanding achievements in the field of literacy, both in the United States and abroad. Applications for the 2014 awards must be received no later than March 31, 2014. The awards are made possible through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein. The application rules and a downloadable application form may be accessed at

The Library’s Center for the Book administers the Literacy Awards program, and Billington will make the final selections based on recommendations from the Advisory Board.

Three prizes will be awarded:

  • The Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) will be awarded to an organization that has made outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy levels and has demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth and breadth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy. The organization will meet the highest standards of excellence in its operations and services. This award may be given to any organization based either inside or outside the United States.
  • The American Prize ($50,000) will be awarded to an organization that has made a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels or the national awareness of the importance of literacy. This award may be given to any organization that is based in the United States.
  • The International Prize ($50,000) will be awarded to an organization or national entity that has made a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels. This award may be given to any organization that is based in a country outside the United States.

The new Advisory Board members will join:

Mrs. Laura Bush
Founder of the Texas Book Festival in 1995
Co-founder with Billington of the Library of Congress National Book Festival in 2001. Bush is the honorary chair of the Advisory Board. The former first lady is a librarian as well as a literacy and reading advocate who focused much of her attention on education while she was in the White House.

Laura L. Bailet, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Nemours BrightStart!
Assistant Professor, Mayo College of Medicine

David Baldacci
No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of books for adults and children
2011 inductee, International Crime Writing Hall of Fame
2012 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award
Founder (with wife Michelle), Wish You Well Foundation for family and adult literacy
Reading and literacy advocate

Cynthia Hearn Dorfman
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Office of Communications and Outreach
U.S. Department of Education

Lesley S.J. Farmer
Professor, College of Education, California State University
Standing Committee on Literacy and Reading, International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)

Susan H. Hildreth
Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services
Former City Librarian, Seattle and San Francisco Public Libraries
State Librarian of California

Karen Lotz
President and Publisher, Candlewick Press
Group Managing Director, Walker Books Limited

Pamela A. Mason, Ed.D.
Director, Language and Literacy Program
Jeanne Chall Reading Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Elaine Ng
Chief Executive Officer, National Library Board of Singapore

James Patterson
No. 1 New York Times best-selling author for adults and children
Children’s Choice Author of the Year Award Winner (2010)
Founder,, the winner of the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize 2009
Founding partner, Children’s Reading Fund (UK)
Reading and literacy advocate

Karen M. Ristau, Ed.D.
President, National Catholic Educational Association
Former Professor, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

Lynda Bird Johnson Robb
Reading Is Fundamental Inc.: founding member, former chair and board of directors (1968-2013)
President, The National Home Library Foundation

Richard Robinson
CEO/President/Chairman, Scholastic Inc.

Loriene Roy, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin
Former Chair, International Relations Round Table, American Library Association

Carol Seiler, Commissioner, MPH, MN
Coordinator for Strategic Mission Planning
The Salvation Army, USA Central Territory

Benita Somerfield
Former Executive Director, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy (1989-2012)
Member, Governing Board, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
U.S. Representative to the United Nations Literacy Decade (2002-2012)

Michael Trucano
Senior Specialist in educational policy and information and communications technology
Human Development Network, The World Bank

Robert Wedgeworth, Ph.D.
University Librarian and Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Member, Institute of Museum and Library Services Board

Maryanne Wolf
Professor of Child Development
Center for Reading and Language Research, Tufts University
Author, “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain”

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. 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

The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through the Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit


PR 14-050
ISSN 0731-3527