ALA’s five ethnic affiliates building innovative family literacy models through ALA President Dr. Camila Alire's Family Focus Initiative

Contact: Dale Lipschultz

Literacy Officer, OLOS

(312) 280-3275


For Immediate Release,

March 16, 2010

CHICAGO - In January 2010, the American Library Association (ALA) and ALA President Dr. Camila Alire awarded each of ALA’s five Ethnic Affiliates $4,000 to develop and implement innovative family literacy models. With the support of Dr. Alire’s

Family Focus Initiative
the Affiliates are building innovative family literacy models in libraries serving Native American, Asian American, Pacific American, African American, Chinese American and Latino communities.

“Each Ethnic Affiliate’s Family Literacy Focus project respects rich oral and written traditions while building strong 21st Century literacy practices across generations,” says Dr. Alire. “These innovative projects are unfolding in selected libraries across the country and will provide will provide strong models for libraries to replicate for serving their diverse communities. We are thrilled with their progress and look forward to their products!”

The Chinese American Librarians Association's (CALA) project,
Dai Dai Xiang Chuan: Bridging Generations, a Bag at a Time) brings generations together through literacy and cultural activities that emphasize verbal/written language skills and cultural and digital literacy. The "bags" will include bilingual (Chinese and English) print and digital materials on a variety of intergenerational topics with instructions for family activities. CALA will also host the project website that includes a blog for participating families.

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA) are working together to pilot a library program that will bring basic and cultural literacy together by combining story time and oral traditions.
Talk Story: Sharing Culture, Sharing History event programs will be hosted at selected public/tribal libraries with a focus on basic literacy: pre-readers, early readers, and family members.

The Black Caucus (BCALA) will launch an intergenerational literacy project, entitled
is Grand! Celebrating Grand Families @ Your Library, targeted at grandparents raising their grandchildren. The primary focus of the project is to foster a lifelong love of reading. On June 1, 2010, BCALA will host a kick-off celebration at one of the branches of the Chicago Public Library.

REFORMA (National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) believes that storytelling and the oral traditions are essential in the transmission and preservation of culture, as well as a significant tool in developing literacy skills. The mission of
Noche de Cuentos is to promote and preserve the art of storytelling within our Latino communities in the US. Five libraries are working on initial kick off of the program and promoting their events.

Family Literacy Focus projects will be featured at ALA’s 2010 Annual Conference on Saturday, June 26 from 1:30-3:30 pm. The session,
Tools to Promote Family Literacy and Advocacy, will include representatives from the Affiliate groups describing the development, implementation, and impact of their family literacy models.