ALA, President Dr. Camila Alire launch Family Literacy Focus

Contact: Steve Zalusky

Manager of Communications,

ALA Public Information Office

(312) 280-1546


For Immediate Release

January 5, 2010

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) and ALA President Dr. Camila Alire are launching the Family Literacy Focus, an initiative to encourage families in ethnically diverse communities to read and learn together.

ALA has awarded each of the five Ethnic Affiliates $3,000 to develop and implement innovative family literacy models in libraries serving Native American, Asian American, Pacific American, African American, Chinese American and Latino communities.

These culturally focused family literacy programs bring generations together through innovative  literacy activities that emphasize oral and written traditions and explore new literacies. Family Literacy Focus activities include family reading nights, intergenerational storytelling and take-home literacy activities. At the conclusion of the Initiative, these easily replicable family literacy activities will be available on the Affiliates’ Web sites.

“Our public libraries encourage families in all communities to read and learn together. My Family Literacy Focus targets ethnically diverse communities with complex literacy expectations and remarkable cultural traditions,” Alire said. “Each Ethnic Affiliate’s family literacy project respects these rich traditions as they seek to develop strong 21st Century literacy practices in new generations. I am looking forward to seeing these inspiring projects unfold  and replicated in libraries throughout the country. “

“Literacy is a fundamental element in today’s digital and global world,” said Mary Jo Venetis, chair of ALA President Camila Alire’s Diversity Initiative Committee and associate library director of technical services at the University of Texas at Dallas, McDermott Library. “It has been rewarding to see the Ethnic Affiliates’ hard work in bridging the literacy gap in their respective communities through their upcoming family literacy programs. These Affiliates will achieve these goals by using libraries as a stepping stone to encourage all groups to become involved in creating literacy connections. “