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Photograph of all the winners and honorees holding their awards
Representatives from the 2023 Literacy Awards winners and honorees organizations pose for a group photo with Principal Deputy Librarian of Congress, Mark Sweeney. Photograph by David Rice

2023 Literacy Awards Winners and Honorees Gathered at the Library of Congress

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This post is by Judy Lee of the Library of Congress.

For the first time since 2019, Literacy Awards winners and honorees recently gathered in person at the Library of Congress for the 2023 Literacy Awards Successful Practices Conference.

The 2023 Literacy Awards Successful Practices Conference, on October 18, 2023, was a full day of celebrating, showcasing, and making meaningful connections. Over 100 guests, including the 2023 winners and honorees, representatives from previous Literacy Awards winner and honoree organizations, Literacy Awards Advisory Board Members, and Library of Congress staff, spent the day in the Library’s James Madison Building. Guests traveled from 17 states and five countries, including New Zealand and Indonesia.

The purpose of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program is to draw public attention to the importance of advancing literacy for all people of all ages in the United States and abroad. Since 2013, the Library of Congress has distributed more than $3 million to over 180 organizations serving in more than 39 countries, with the generous support of philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden joined the conference virtually to congratulate the 2023 winners and honorees and to celebrate their work. Following her appearance, the top prize winners took turns telling the audience about their literacy programs.

Charles Saltar, President and Chief Executive Officer of The News Literacy Project, the 2023 David M. Rubenstein Prize recipient, motivated the room to value the role of news literacy amidst increasing misinformation today.

Image of man standing behind a podium giving a speech
Charles Saltar, President and CEO of The News Literacy Project, presents at the 2023 Literacy Awards Successful Practices Conference. Photograph by David Rice

Katie Solomon, Programs Director and Chief Operating Officer, and Skylar Burkhardt, Data & Literacy Manager of Downtown Boxing Gym, the 2023 American Prize recipient, dove deep into a student testimony, highlighting the power of interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, confidence, and personalized mentorship in improving literacy and educational outcomes overall for students.

Rebecca Chandler Leege, Chief Executive Officer of Worldreader, the 2023 International Prize recipient, impressed the audience with the multinational impact of Worldreader’s BookSmart mobile application, which increases access to digital books in the Global South.

In addition to celebrating the 2023 winners and honorees, guests took advantage of multiple opportunities to network, share about their work and ideas with one another, and make meaningful connections. The afternoon portion of the conference featured the 2023 Successful Practices Honorees, along with the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources and Center for the Book programs, in an exhibit-style session, during which these honorees showcased their literacy programs.

People talking to people at tables in a large room
The 2023 Successful Practices Honorees showcase their organizations in a conference-style exhibit. Photograph by Kathy McGuigan


One conference guest shared in a post-event survey: “The conference enabled us to connect with at least one other organization with whom we will definitively collaborate in our work. In addition, we connected with several other organizations with similar programs, and will maintain communications for purposes of sharing and learning,”

The Library will release the 2024 Literacy Awards application in January 2024.

Learn more about the 2023 Literacy Awards winners in this video and Story Map. Recordings of the presentations from the 2023 Successful Practices Conference will be available on the Literacy Awards Website soon.

The Literacy Awards Program is presenting at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Convention in Columbus, Ohio, this Friday, November 17, 2023, at 12:30pm in Room A-112/113, GCCC. You can also find us at Booth 504 in the Exhibit Hall. We hope to see you there!

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