Celebrate the value of libraries and literacy this September

For Immediate Release
Tue, 09/07/2010


Megan McFarlane

International Literacy Day is Sept. 8

CHICAGO – Open the door to literacy and lifelong learning for students of all ages by signing up for a library card today.

Held every September, Library Card Sign-up Month is a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries around the country work to remind parents that a library card is the most important school supply of all. Every day librarians and library staff are at work in the literacy trenches, bringing books and effective programs directly into the lives of children, parents, grandparents, childcare providers and educators.

In addition to it being Library Card Sign-up Month, Sept. 8 marks International Literacy Day. Created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Literacy Day is a time to focus attention on worldwide literacy needs.

Statistics show the impact of reading on the quality of life. Low literacy is linked to poverty, crime, dependence on government assistance and poor health. And research has shown that parents who struggle with reading pass this legacy on to their children.

According to UNESCO more than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

Libraries across the country and around the globe work to make a difference in the communities they serve every day. Libraries support literacy education by providing teaching resources, space for tutoring and information and referral services, or take a more active approach by offering literacy classes or one-on-one tutoring programs.

Among libraries promoting International Literacy Day are the Berwyn (Ill.) Public Library, the El Paso (Texas) Public Library and the Kill Devil Hills (N.C.) Public Library. Each of the libraries are recipients of ALA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s American Dream Starts @ your library grant.  For more information on the American Dream Starts @ your library grant visit www.ala.org/americandream.

Libraries celebrating International Literacy Day are encouraged to submit their stories of how they are promoting the value of libraries in the fight against illiteracy. Send your library’s story to mmcfarlane@ala.org.

The American Dream Starts @ your library is administered by the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS).

Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a Partner in the Campaign for America’s Libraries, ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible in part by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations.