Libraries and Families Award


Better World Books and the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) are seeing a big impact from the Libraries and Families grants that have been awarded to 9 library programs across the country, thus far. Libraries spanning Providence, Rhode Island to San Diego, California, have participated in the program by providing new and innovative ways to bring families together over literacy and learning. “These libraries provide a critical service for our communities and are passionate about the families they serve,” said John Ujda, Vice President of Marketing for Better World Books.

Funding for this program comes from the Better World Books for Libraries program, a free service that helps libraries manage their unwanted books. Better World Books sells those books online, sharing the revenues with the libraries and its nonprofit literacy partners. Read about the exciting work grantees are doing below and revisit this web page regularly for future funding opportunities.

  • The Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library added a summer learning component to their already successful Learning English as a Family Affair (LEFA) program as a result of the grant. This intensive program’s test scores given pre- and post-summer LEFA indicated that a majority of students tested maintained their level of English speaking abilities or demonstrated increases in English language skills as a result of participation—exciting results given that skill levels often decrease with the absence of programming in the summer months. The video below highlights one of the many stories of families who have benefited from library-based family literacy programs.
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Ready to Read Corps (R2R) is expanding the reach of their program that teaches parents and caregivers the importance of kindergarten readiness, their role as their child’s first teacher and specific literacy-developing strategies they can use at home with their children. Lessons are being delivered to 200 families living in at-risk neighborhoods in Columbus through a series of personalized in-home visits, and the parent/caregiver will receive a mini R2R toolkit of supporting materials and activities following each lesson.
  • The Providence Public Library’s Chace Children’s Discovery Library features hands-on activity centers focused on key elements of early childhood literacy development. The program is investing funds in critical outreach to non-native English speakers by identifying, training and utilizing immigrant parents as guides for the hands-on activities. The trained guides are developing and implementing an outreach plan to engage immigrant families, provide recruitment and outreach strategies for immigrant families, and serve as spokespeople for the library in their communities. Currently, the library has translated materials into 7 languages to support and provide resources for its diverse patron population.
  • The Salinas Public Library in California is creating a mobile reading program that leverages the popularity of its mascot Snappy, the leopard tortoise. The new program has equipped a family literacy mobile called the Snappymobile, which is providing services to 2,500 families this year. The Snappymobile is reaching socially and linguistically isolated families unfamiliar with the services of the library. Key activities for the van are visiting hospitals, pediatric clinics and housing projects; participating in special events; issuing “Snappy” library cards; conducting story time; and checking out materials including books and toys from the library’s Toy Lending Library.
  • The Dallas Public Library project has already impacted more than 5,200 families by creating a video to bring workshops into the homes of the families who are unable to attend. The instructional DVD video in both English and Spanish allows the program to impact the city’s families most in need of literacy resources. The popularity and awareness of the video and its city-wide impact continue to increase as its program develops new community collaborations.
  • The Queens Library Family Literacy Program created a series of video profiles to disseminate information about its program to the community, inform immigrant parents about the New York City Public School System, and motivate parents to support and enrich the early literacy development of their young children. Families participating in the program helped develop the videos, building critical literacy, technology and work skills in so doing. More than 350 families have been served, and the impact will continue for years to come.
  • READ/San Diego, the adult and family literacy program of the San Diego Public Library, expanded its program to serve 97 families in the communities of Logan Heights, Valencia Park, City Heights and Serra Mesa and distributed more than 6,100 books. In addition, more than 150 first-grade students at a local elementary school received extra literacy instruction during class using guided reading methods to read and discuss stories with the students.
  • The Vineland Public Library conducted 38 grant-sponsored programs promoting literacy for families and children, reaching more than 1,400 people and dispersing more than 1,000 grant-funded gift books to families. They also facilitated 12 Families and Books workshops to more than 500 attendees at the library, local preschool centers, elementary schools and other agencies throughout Vineland, New Jersey. The workshops focused on encouraging parents to read to their children at least 10 minutes a day.

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More Information

Learn more about grants awarded by National Center for Family Literacy here.

Interested in other ground-breaking grant opportunities and projects? Check out Better World Books Literacy and Education in Action Program (LEAP).

Interested in Better World Books discards and donations for libraries program? Send us an email
to [email protected]

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