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September 6, 2017

Library Announces Winners of 2017 Literacy Awards

Children’s Literacy Initiative, National Center for Families Learning & Pratham Books Take Top Honors

Press Contact: Gayle Osterberg (202)707-0020 | Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202)707-5221
Website: Library of Congress Literacy Awards

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the winners of the 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Awards tonight at the Library of Congress National Book Festival gala.

Three organizations received awards from Hayden and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein: the Children’s Literacy Initiative; the National Center for Families and Learning; and Pratham Books.

Originated by Rubenstein in 2013, the Literacy Awards honor organizations working to promote literacy and reading in the United States and worldwide. The awards recognize groups doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work, and they spotlight the need for the global community to unite in striving for universal literacy.

“Literacy is the first line of defense against so many problems—unemployment, hunger, poor health—and gives people a foundation for a brighter future,” Hayden said. “Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress is proud to honor these exemplary organizations for their continued efforts to raise reading levels. Their work is moving and truly life-changing, and it is our privilege to recognize them here tonight.”

Prizes and Recipients

  • David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000): Children’s Literacy Initiative, Philadelphia

Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI) works with pre-K through third-grade teachers to improve early literacy instruction so children become powerful readers, writers and thinkers. CLI creates a sustainable, school-wide culture of literacy that introduces students to the joys of reading, writing and lifelong learning. The organization coaches teachers one-on-one and in small groups in the classroom—providing demonstrations and feedback that help teachers incorporate effective literacy practices into their daily work with students. It stocks classrooms with learning materials and collections of high-quality children’s literature and extends its services with online professional development resources. CLI provides workshops and seminars to build a teacher’s knowledge of literacy content and pedagogy.

  • American Prize ($50,000): National Center for Families Learning, Louisville, Kentucky

Established in 1989 by its current president, Sharon Darling, the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) works to eliminate poverty through educational solutions for families. Throughout its 28-year history, NCFL has changed the lives of millions of families across the country by providing literacy strategies, programming and resources. Engaging multiple generations together has been a fundamental and distinguishing aspect of NCFL’s work, because it knows this creates a stronger impact and greater success for families.

  • International Prize ($50,000): Pratham Books, Bangalore, India

Established with the mission of “a book in every child’s hand,” Pratham Books has helped millions of children have access to engaging, affordable, multilingual books. In order to scale the creation and distribution of multilingual content, Pratham Books launched StoryWeaver, India’s first open-source, digital repository of multilingual stories. All content on StoryWeaver is openly licensed. Users can read, download, print and share stories for free as well as use tools embedded on the platform to create and translate content into local languages.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards program is also honoring 15 organizations for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. These organizations are:

  • The Asia Foundation, San Francisco
  • Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Center for Teaching and Learning, Edgecomb, Maine
  • Centre for Knowledge Assistance and Community Development, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • CODE, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • CommonLit Inc., Washington, D.C.
  • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities/PRIME TIME, New Orleans
  • Reading Partners, Oakland, California
  • Reading Works Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Sealaska Heritage Institute, Juneau, Alaska
  • Serve Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • State Library of Western Australia – Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program, Perth, Australia
  • Story Share Inc., Boston
  • Tales and Travel Memories, Elgin, Illinois
  • Yayasan Sulinama, Ambon, Maluku, Indonesia

Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group. He is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and the chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards are administered by the Library’s Center for the Book, which was created in 1977 by Congress to “stimulate public interest in books and reading.” A public-private partnership, the center sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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