Literacy for All: Adult Literacy @ your library - Know your Community

Literacy for All: Adult Literacy @ your library toolkit

Know your Community

Like libraries, adult literacy programs are deeply rooted in the community, working with faith-based organizations, school districts, community colleges and universities, and libraries. Community-based literacy programs provide 1:1 tutoring and small group instruction and rely on a cadre of trained volunteers to provide these services. 

A recent survey reported that 74% of public libraries partner with their local community-based literacy programs to serve adult learners. 
To make your library a key community adult literacy resource, be the convener and reach out and invite community stakeholders to the library for a literacy brainstorming session.  Include representatives from: 
  • Community-based literacy organizations
  • Local literacy coalitions
  • Social service agencies, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, the local YMCA and YWCA, Rotary Clubs, job training facilities, senior citizen groups 
  • Faith-based organizations including churches, synagogues, and mosques
  • Community colleges and local universities
  • School districts serving grades K-12
  • Local PBS station
  • Businesses and national corporations with a local presence 
  • Private foundations
  • Elected officials 
  • Adult learners to tell their stories and advocates for action 
During the session, emphasize the library’s role as a resource provider. Showcase and promote the library’s services, resources, and staff. Conduct an informal, asset-based survey of your community’s  current literacy programming and identify what’s missing. Determine reasonable next steps, such as:
  • Scheduling another meeting
  • Conducting community interviews
  • Reaching out to additional potential partners
  • Offering to host occasional or regular literacy 
  • partner meetings  
  • Build  action-oriented partnerships with achievable literacy goals and strive for long-term collaborations that will create a multifaceted literacy coalition

“Libraries have a vested interest in assuring that adults are able to read, speak, and understand English. Adults who learn to read at their library, love their library!”
Sandy Newell, State Library & Archives of Florida