The importance of volunteer work for successful children’s and adult literacy programs in US public libraries – a view from outside

HOERNING, Beate (2017) The importance of volunteer work for successful children’s and adult literacy programs in US public libraries – a view from outside. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 138 - Literacy and Reading, Libraries for Children and Young Adults, Public Libraries and School Libraries.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1757
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

The importance of volunteer work for successful children’s and adult literacy programs in US public libraries – a view from outside

There is a wide range of possible activities for people who want to volunteer in US public libraries. Among all these opportunities – library literacy programs are one of the most important programs that are staffed by volunteers. After giving a short overview on the history and the current situation of promoting literacy through public libraries for community members of all ages and backgrounds (immigrants as well as native-born Americans), this paper describes the results of a qualitative study. The study is based on a combination of field research and problem-centered interviews with volunteers and librarians (volunteer coordinators) – held in public libraries in 11 US states – and will be discussed with focus on literacy aspects. US public library literacy programs and their volunteers – seen through the eyes of a German researcher: What are the motivations of volunteer tutors to help people to read and write? Is there a connection between the literacy volunteers’ backgrounds and their chosen fields of activity in the library? What are the reasons why particularly a public library is a good place for immigrants or illiterates who are looking for help?

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