Winners of First Library of Congress Literacy Awards Announced
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has chosen the winners of the 2013 Library of Congress Literacy Awards, a new program originated and sponsored by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.
The recipients are:
David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000): Reach Out and Read, Boston, Mass.
Reach Out and Read encourages early-childhood literacy by capitalizing on the relationship between parents and their children’s pediatricians. By integrating basic literacy awareness into regular office visits, children are exposed to books and reading at the earliest age, well before they start school. Free books are distributed during the visit as well. Reach Out and Read achieves sustainability because it has integrated literacy education into a widely practiced experience (the well-baby visit).
Today, 12,000 medical providers serve 4 million annually in 5,000 clinics in all 50 states.
The American Prize ($50,000): 826 National, San Francisco, Calif.
826 National uses unique storefront offices in eight cities nationwide as bases for addressing community problems of both literacy and aliteracy. One-on-one tutoring for at-risk K-12 students is offered along with a range of free core programs, including storytelling, bookmaking, in-school writing workshops and publishing projects. 826 has offices in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor/Detroit, Seattle, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C., serving more than 31,000 students and publishing more than 1,000 student books annually.
The International Prize ($50,000): PlanetRead, Mumbai, India
PlanetRead in India is an innovative program that reinforces literacy skills, primarily through subtitles for popular musical television programming. SLS (Same Language Subtitling) was developed in India based on solid research. It is simple to implement and easy to replicate, reaching 200 million low-literacy TV viewers in India. SLS is notable as a highly motivational approach for getting low-literacy adults to read, particularly where access to books is difficult.
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards were announced in January 2013 as a program to help support organizations working to alleviate the problems of illiteracy and aliteracy (a lack of interest in reading) both in the United States and worldwide. The awards seek to reward those organizations that have been doing exemplary, innovative and easily replicable work over a sustained period of time and to encourage new groups, organizations and individuals to become involved.
“The generosity of David Rubenstein in instituting this literacy awards program will have a profound impact not just on the winners and their programs, but also on literacy programs everywhere that can benefit by replicating some of the best practices of those who applied for an award,” said Billington. He noted that the Library is producing a publication that highlights the best practices in a number of categories as exemplified by the top applicants.
“Literacy opens doors to life’s great opportunities,” said Rubenstein, a co-founder of The Carlyle Group and a major donor to the Library of Congress National Book Festival. “I am pleased to support the work of these outstanding literacy organizations that are making a profound difference in the lives of so many individuals.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.