Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hemet Public Library

Two residents serve as recruiters and tutors.
Press Enterprise: Jan 29, 2007 by Jamie Ayala

Illiteracy can cause some people to risk accidentally killing their loved ones, miss out on job opportunities or forgo time with children.

If reading prescription drug bottles, applications and bedtime stories can make a difference in someone's life, Dorothy Rojas, a homemaker, and Phyllis Perea, a retiree, are determined to help.

The two AmeriCorps members work in the Hemet Public Library's
adult literacy program through the statewide Library Literacy Services AmeriCorps Initiative. The library is one of 32 in California selected for the program, through which Rojas and Perea provide their help for two years.

"I feel so blessed," said Lori Eastman, literacy coordinator of the library's program, which offers basic reading and writing lessons to English-speaking adults.

Photo: Phyllis Perea, left, and Dorothy Rojas show some of the materials they use to tutor adults through the statewide Library Literacy Services AmeriCorps Initiative

Friday, January 26, 2007

READ/Orange County

Literacy and the pursuit of happiness.
Orange County Register: Jan 24, 2007 byJenny Sokol.

Antonio (Tone) Correa will be 98 next month and the man shows no sign of slowing down. Why should he? "I'm busy," the Orange resident explains. "It's what keeps me young."

Busy indeed. Correa drives himself to the senior center where he loves to dance. He's writing three books. In his spare time, Correa volunteers with READ Orange County, the adult literacy program of the Orange County Public Library.

Bob West, outreach volunteer coordinator for READ/OC, estimates that Correa has spent well over 2,000 hours teaching 40 adults to read and write in the past decade. An estimated 350,000 to 450,000 people in Orange County, and one in every five adults nationwide, are considered functionally illiterate. READ/OC works to reduce those numbers with its confidential, no-cost tutoring program.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

1 . 888 . SOS . READ

Statewide Public Awareness Campaign for Library Literacy Programs: 1 . 888 . SOS . READ

During 2005 and 2006, the California State Library conducted a statewide survey of library literacy program participants in order to determine the most effective ways of promoting our services.

One of the results of this research: Billboard ads and Bus Stop ads are now visible on California streets and highways. The Billboard Campaign was designed and placed by Clear Channel where they actually own billboards and bus they have committed to 28 billboards and 70 bus sheltershelters. To date s with many more to be donated. This is a huge ad space donation -- hundreds of thousands of dollars in donated space to California Library Literacy Services.

So keep an eye open for these billboards and bus stop ads in Southern California !


Photo: Bus ad - Victory & Olive, Burbank CA

Friday, January 19, 2007

San Bernardino County Library

Light the lamp of literacy
Redlands Daily Facts: Jan 16, 2007 by C. L. Lopez

Cesar Lara, a literacy specialist at the Highland Branch Library, pairs up tutors with students in the adult literacy program. Cesar Lara makes literacy a reality one person at a time. Lara is one of 11 literacy specialists in the county. At the Highland Branch Library, Lara pairs up tutors with students in the adult literacy program.

"I just want to help people with their goals of reading, writing and learning English," Lara said. "Even though I do not do the teaching, I still feel like I am helping them."

The volunteer tutors then help their students learn to read and write.

The program currently has seven students and five tutors, but Lara is optimistic those numbers will go up when the library moves to its new location in the

Sam Racadio Learning Center in a few months.

"Hopefully the new library will encourage a lot more people to come in," he said.

Lara was a tutor at the library for a few months before he became a page and then a literacy specialist.

He also is a tutor with the Yuciapa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District.

Once in the new library, there are plans to add English language improvement classes.

The library's literacy lab will have five computers for the students and their tutors to use. Once paired up students and tutors make their own schedules to meet in the library. Tutors must be at least 18 years old. Most of the tutors are former teachers.
"You just have to have the motivation to help somebody," Lara said.

Susan Ponce, a former elementary school teacher's assistant, has tutored at the library for four months.

"It is very rewarding," Ponce said. "The reward for me is when you see a light in someone's eyes because something is understood."

Three nights a week, Ponce meets with her student, Martha Villar.

"We started out with English comprehension and word knowledge," Ponce recalled. "There has been a change for the better with her vocabulary."

Ponce says Villar "wants to better herself so that she might acquire a better job or career than what she is doing at the present time."

"I want to advance myself," said Villar, an elementary school recreational aide. "I will keep going to tutoring until I am confident in myself."

Villar admits she struggled in college because of her English skills. Now, she says she wants to be able to help elementary school students.

"The work they have now is a lot harder than when I was in school," she said.

Villar encourages other adults to go to the library for tutoring.

"Don't be embarrassed to go to the library for help," she said. "It is better to learn than not know."