Adult Literacy Programs at the Library of Congress Literacy Awards

LOC  Literacy Awards BookletI had the good luck to be in attendance at the presentation of the 2014 Library of Congress Literacy (LOC) Awards on October 8th. Now in its second year, this program, supported by philanthropist David Rubenstein, honors organizations that have made “outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad.” This year’s top honors went to Room to Read, which was awarded the David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000); Start Making a Reader Today (SMART), winner of the American Prize ($50,000); and the Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV), winner of the International Prize ($50,000).

None of these organizations are adult-focused, although the AÇEV program provides adult literacy services for low-income mothers of the children they serve. (AÇEV also employs technology extensively in their program, using a mix of television and online materials. If you are at all interested in technology and adult education,  I suggest you check them out, although I should note that their Web site is in Turkish.)

I bring all of this to your attention because this year there was an increased emphasis on the other purpose of the program, which is the dissemination of effective practices, culled from not only the three prize-winners, but also a subset of the organizations that applied for an award this year but did not win. The LOC has published a Best Practices booklet summarizing those practices, and additional resources, such as symposia and webcasts, are in the works. Here, several adult education organizations are featured, including ProLiteracy, the Literacy Assistance Center of New York City, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford, and California Library Literacy Services (CLLS).