Literacy and Libraries: Learning from Case Studies

Find on LibraryThing.Find on WorldCat.
ALA Member: 
$ 40.50
Item Number: 
  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

Literacy programs at libraries across the country have literally changed people's lives. Hear the real-life stories of library directors, program administrators, teachers, tutors, librarians, and adult learners who have experienced the transformation firsthand.

With nine out of ten libraries playing a role in adult literacy and thirty percent offering instruction, it is ever-clear that libraries are major players in promoting and increasing literacy. One component of ALA's own "Literacy in Libraries across America" initiative (funded in part by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund), this book was conceived to help strengthen library-based literacy programs. As you digest the lessons learned from these stories, you'll better:

  • Understand the essential role that libraries play in literacy and adult education.
  • Meet the educational needs of your unique community-whether urban or rural.
  • Use technology to revamp the way people learn to read and write.
  • Create winning local partnerships to make literacy programs a reality.
  • Public libraries, non-profits, literacy organizations, and community groups can all use the practical and specific information in this book to tackle the endemic problem of illiteracy in America.

Dale Phillips Lipschultz

Part I Literacy Now
1 Gloria's Story: "She Wanted Me to Be Somebody":
A Learner in a Library Literacy Program in Hawai'i
Sondra Cuban
A midlife Hawaiian woman's story, from Hilo

2 "I Know This Is the Place for Me": Stories of Library Literacy Learners and Programs
John Comings, Sondra Cuban, Hans Bos, and Cate Taylor
Five literacy programs and the learners who share
their worlds

3 A Place in the World: Building a Learner-Centered
Participatory Literacy Program
Leslie McGinnis
A more inclusive way of doing business is harder,
but far more rewarding

4 Relearning Literacy and Leadership in a Library-Based Literacy Program
Sherry Drobner
The notion of leadership, from Alameda County,

5 Charting the Course for Learner Leadership
Taylor Willingham
Learners need training in how to be leaders:
a study in California

Part II How We Do What We Do
6 Whole Literacy in Plymouth: Literacy as a Library
Dinah L. O'Brien
What happens when a library treats literacy on a par
with reference and storytimes in Massachusetts

7 Literacy, Diversity, and Learners
Lynne A. Price
Tutors and learners both have "a-ha!" moments at San Francisco Public Library

8 Project READ: Redwood City Public Library
Kathy Endaya
Targeting children, adults, and families in a
multifaceted literacy approach

9 A Rural Public Library Literacy Program
Konni P. Clayton
In east central Illinois, equal access means
literacy programs

10 Theme-Based Instruction and Tutor Training at
the New York Public Library Centers for Reading
and Writing
Decklan Fox
A wellness curriculum and a tutor training manual

11 No Simple Answers
Bruce Carmel and Anita Citron
New York City's Queens Borough Public Library
defines its services and its students over an ever-
changing urban environment

12 Creating a Community of Readers to Fight Functional Illiteracy
Steve Sumerford
In Greensboro, North Carolina, "Literacy is part
of everything we do"

13 Serving This Community
Lou Saunders Sua
At the Chavis Lifelong Learning Branch Library
in Greensboro, reaching out to "nonusers"

14 Teaching Adult Literacy in a Multicultural Environment
Gary E. Strong
At Queens Borough Public Library in New York City,
nearly half the population served speaks a language
other than English at home

Part III Literacy and Technology
15 Literacy and Technology: Thinking through the Process
Sarah Nixon and Tim Ponder
Thinking through what technology can do for a
literacy program

16 The Brooklyn Public Library and Technology
for Literacy
Susan K. O'Connor and Debbie Guerra
Making technology work for learners, and some
learners' stories in Brooklyn, New York

17 Computer Skills and Literacy
Carol Morris
At Illinois' Waukegan Public Library, e-mail and
e-tools make all the difference

18 Another Divide: Low-Literacy Adults and the
New Technology
Randall Weaver
A computer lab and computer donation program
spark learning at San Francisco Public Library

Part IV History and the Future
19 Public Library Literacy Programs: A Blueprint for
the Future
Martín Gómez
The director of the Brooklyn Public Library and
a longtime literacy advocate shares a 13-point plan

20 The American Library Association's Literacy Initiatives: History and Hope
Peggy Barber
"Stealth" programs now move to the forefront

21 Bridging the Information Chasm: ALA's Office
for Literacy and Outreach Services
Satia Marshall Orange

22 Coda: Word
GraceAnne A. DeCandido
From a 1994 editorial in Wilson Library Bulletin,
the editor muses on the power of the word


GraceAnne A. DeCandido

GraceAnne A. DeCandido is a writer, editor, teacher, and speaker who currently works as an editorial and Web consultant for her own company, Blue Roses Consulting. She spent ten years as a librarian at the New York Public Library, the Parsons School of Design, and New York University, and twelve years in library publishing, working for the Special Libraries Association, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. DeCandido earned her master's degree in library science from Columbia University.

"Powerful, uplifting, and eminently practical, [this book] is highly recommended for library science students, as well as anyone involved in teaching adults the eye-opening, life-enhancing, crucial skill of reading."
—Midwest Book Review

"The stories here are a valuable blueprint for any public library that is considering developing a literacy program, or looking to expand or revitalize an existing one."
—American Reference Books Annual

"...a useful and inspiring guide... [H]ighly recommended for literacy programs, nonprofit agencies, and public libraries."
—Public Libraries