The Library of Congress Literacy Awards, 2013-2017: Best Practices

FARMER, Lesley (2017) The Library of Congress Literacy Awards, 2013-2017: Best Practices. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 112 - Poster Sessions.

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Language: English (Original)
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The Library of Congress Literacy Awards, 2013-2017: Best Practices

Since 2013, a generous five-year donation from David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, has enabled the Library of Congress to honor top literacy efforts by organizations throughout the world. The awards also encourage innovative ways to address literacy issues, and disseminate best practices. Applicants submit a project summary and letters of support, and they are selected according to their: innovation, research/best practice basis, replicability, measurable impact, and sustainability. The Director for the Library of Congress Center for the Book chairs the Literacy Awards. A distinguished advisory board (representing several aspects of literacy: authors, literacy agencies, librarians, educators, governmental agencies, and political leaders ) recommend best practices and finalists. The Librarian of Congress makes the final choices. Not-for-profit non-governmental organizations were prevalent. Most applicants mentioned partnerships, which broadened their audience and support base. Literacy efforts were aimed, in rank order: children, teens, and adults. Illiteracy was the main need identified, and endeavors focused on specific barriers and consequences. Access and raining constituted the main efforts. Programs incorporated technology in several ways. The researcher compared semi-finalists and winners to those who were not so chosen. Content analysis revealed that, in general, semi-finalists and winners demonstrated sound planning and implementation with a clear focus and sustainable support. Most demonstrated: • a solid foundation and long-term reputation, which enabled them to garner stable partners and funding • strong local support and volunteer engagement, even for national initiatives • creativity or resourcefulness, such as teaching reading in public spaces or using social media to motivate young people to write and share their work • support materials, frequently online, to enable target audiences and other groups to implement the programs independently and broaden the programs’ impact.

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