Library Announces Literacy Award Winners

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the winners of the 2016 Library of Congress Literacy Awards tonight at the Library of Congress National Book Festival gala. The awards honor organizations working to promote literacy and reading in the United States and worldwide. The awards recognize groups doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work, and they spotlight the need for the global community to unite in striving for universal literacy.

The awards are sponsored by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, who originated the awards program in January 2013. The winners were selected from among applicants in both the United States and abroad. They are:

David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000): WETA Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets was developed by WETA, a PBS member station, to provide resources and services for literacy providers, educators and parents. Reading Rockets disseminates all of its information and resources via its free website. Most of the material is aimed at teachers, parents and caregivers, but Reading Rockets also works with more than 50 national partner organizations to promote literacy and reading. Some of the resources include book and activity suggestions, articles and research briefs, and original series. A set of literacy blogs written by nationally-acclaimed authors, literacy specialists and teachers offers new perspectives on reading and literacy.  

The American Prize ($50,000): Parent-Child Home Program

The Parent-Child Home Program develops school readiness in children with disadvantages by combining intensive home visits with weekly gifts of books and educational materials. Early-literacy specialists model good practices to educate parents about the importance of parent-child interaction, give them the tools needed to inculcate early literacy skills in their children, and encourage them to see themselves as active participants in their children’s educations. In this program, community-based early literacy specialists visit participating families twice a week for two years. When families complete the program, the staff helps parents enroll their children in quality preschools or kindergartens.

The International Prize ($50,000): Libraries Without Borders

Libraries Without Borders (LWB) supports community development in 20 countries around the world through the promotion of literacy. Each community’s needs are assessed and context-specific programs are developed to meet them. One of LWB’s signature programs is the Ideas Box, a portable classroom, media center and library that can be installed in 20 minutes. The box expands to create a pop-up space covering over 330 square feet and includes a satellite internet connection, laptops and tablets, a library with both paper books and e-readers, and a built-in cinema.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is also honoring 14 organizations for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. These organizations are Afghanistan Center at Kabul University, Kabul; Cell-Ed, Los Angeles; Chicago Literacy Alliance, Chicago; Cooperative Summer Library Program, Washington, D.C.; Ethiopia Reads, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; GIZPCP, Kabul; Library for All, New York; National Center on Adult Literacy – International Literacy Institute, Philadelphia; NCLANA, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand; New York City Department of Homeless Services, New York; Rumie Initiative, Toronto; Sipar, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Student and Parents in Cooperative Education, Thorndike, Maine and Ze Peao School Programme, João Pessoa, Brazil.

The video below talks about the award, the award winners and the importance of literacy.

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