Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the winners of the 2016 Library of Congress Literacy Awards today at the Library of Congress National Book Festival gala.
The winners are WETA Reading Rockets of Arlington, Virginia; the Parent-Child Home Program of Garden City, New York; and Libraries Without Borders of Paris, France.
The Library of Congress Literacy 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.
“Literacy is a key to lifelong learning,” Hayden said. “As Frederick Douglass said, ‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ You will be free to explore, dream and make your own history. It is wonderful to recognize these organizations that are doing so much to fulfill that promise for countless lives, from remote aboriginal communities in Australia to as close as our own backyard of Washington, D.C.”
The awards are sponsored by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, who originated the awards program in January 2013.
Prizes and Recipients
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, which is accessed 5.7 million times each year. 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. Young Readers is an original series launched by Reading Rockets and provides 30-minute television programs that explore the stages of reading that every child experiences and offer practical advice and reading strategies based on educational and developmental research findings.
[Learn More About Reading Rockets]
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 pr[eschools or kindergartens. The program has been replicated in 400 high-need communities in 14 states and in Chile, Canada, Ireland and Bermuda.
[Learn More About The Parent-Child Home Program]
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. It has its own power source and protects its contents from rain. With tablets, laptops, e-readers, an electric generator, a library with 250 paper books and 5,000 e-books, a TV and projector, 5 HD cameras, board games, and art-and-craft materials, the Ideas Box can serve a whole community.
[Learn More About Libraries Without Borders]
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, USA; 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.
Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group. He is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and the Chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council.
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards are administered by the Library’s Center for the Book, which was created in 1977 by Congress to “stimulate public interest in books and reading.” A public-private partnership, the center sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the the book and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival.