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

Literacy for All: Adult Literacy @ your library toolkit

Know your Library

First, you need to consider and answer some important questions about your library, your literacy services, your fiscal and human resources, and your community. 

An informal, asset-based survey of your library’s current literacy programming will provide information and insight.  These lessons learned will help you identify and build on successful programs in order to reach and serve adult learners.

Asset-based assessment is internally focused and relationship driven. New activities are 
developed based on the library’s capacity, skills, and human and fiscal assets. 
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List the library’s current literacy programs and who they reach:  
  • Preschool story hours 
  • Afterschool homework help
  • Teen reading activities
  • Summer reading programs
  • Adult book clubs
  • Computer classes
Next, review your library’s literacy resources. 
  • Does your library have high quality/low level reading materials for adult learners? 
  • Do you have textbooks and workbooks for adults enrolled in local literacy programs?
  • Do you have manuals and materials for literacy teachers and tutors? 
  • Are these resources available in print and digital formats? 
  • Does your library serve as a literacy tutoring site? 
Identify and recruit your in-house literacy experts and advocates:
  • Staff
  • Administration
  • Trustees
  • Volunteers
  • Friends of the Library 
  • Loyal patrons 
  • Others 
Review your technology and digital accessibility. Does your library have: 
  • Public access computers 
  • Educational software for adult literacy learners
  • Computer classes from basic to advanced
  • Frontline staff who can answer technology questions, guide online searches, and assist adult learners unfamiliar with technology

With all the information above compiled, gather your in-house literacy team to:

  • Discuss the qualities and components that make your current literacy programs successful
  • Identify who you’re reaching and serving and who you’re missing
  • Brainstorm ways to build on your successes, engage your advocates, leverage your resources, and serve adult learners.

“If you work in a public library, literacy is your business. It is your job.  It is the product we provide.  Call it lifelong learning. Call it adult services.  Call it children’s services. It is  all literacy.”
Mark Pumphrey, Deputy Director 
El Paso Public Library