Wednesday, October 15, 2008

San Diego County Library


The Adult Literacy Program of the San Diego County Library
2008 Acts of Caring Award Winner

National Association of Counties
2008 Acts of Caring Award Winners: Libraries

San Diego County: LEARN/Laubach ESL Program
Cumberland County: Service to Adult Readers (STAR)

April 2008 -- With its high immigrant population, San Diego County officials recognized the high cost of illiteracy, including unemployment, decreased tax revenues and increased social services costs. Seeing a need to teach English as a second language (ESL) to the county’s growing adult immigrant population, representatives of Libraries Empower All to Read Now (L.E.A.R.N.) and the Laubach Literacy Council met to discuss the benefits of creating a literacy collaboration to share the costs of tutor training and working together on publicity for an ESL tutoring program in county library branches.

This partnership brings together volunteer tutors with adult immigrants whose first language is not English. There is no cost to the students. Results of the program show that immigrants who are proficient in English are more able to communicate ideas, find meaningful employment, become more effective parents, contribute to the community and become life-long learners.

In 2006, 25 tutors were trained and paired with 76 students and met an average of 3.5 hours a week over the course of a year for a value of $164,696 in volunteer time. Six library branches participated and two more have agreed to add the program this year. Libraries and L.E.A.R.N. referred 150 new students to Laubach in 2007 for matching with tutors. The program’s budget for 2007 was $5,265.

The partnership has enhanced the services of both organizations, and the program is changing and improving lives daily.

Contact: Nancy Saint John, Adult Services Coordinator, San Diego County Library
Phone: (858) 694-3833


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