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Program Essentials for California Library Literacy Services

Adult & Family Literacy Services

The mission of California Library Literacy Services is to enable Californians of all ages to reach their literacy goals and use library services effectively

Adult & Family Literacy Services and outreach to the adult learner are the foundation of library literacy services because reaching the adult is the critical first step in addressing the literacy needs of the entire family. Serving adults provides continuity and a bridge to the family and the community.

Definition of Adult Learner:

All adult learners you report to the State Library must meet this Definition of an Adult Learner -- For the purposes of qualifying for the per capita award portion of the CLLS funding formula, an adult learner:

  • Is 16 years or older and not concurrently enrolled in high school
  • Seeks literacy services for him/herself in English and is able to do the intake interview in English
  • Has completed an intake interview, has been assessed and is receiving instruction including, but not limited to, one-to-one, small group and/or computer instruction
  • Has established one or more personal literacy goals
  • Does not include someone who requests services from your library but is referred elsewhere

Program Essentials of Adult Literacy Services include the following:

“Dedicated staff" are assigned specifically to adult literacy services.

Literacy instruction is provided for the English-speaking adults who seek it.

Literacy services are provided in a public library setting or, if elsewhere, a strong connection to the library is made.

The service has trained volunteer tutors and adult learners.

While library literacy services may charge a third party, such as a workplace, for services, instruction is always provided for free to the "end-user," the adult learner or participating family.

Adult learners complete an initial intake process, which includes screening, assessment and possible referral if another community service could better meet their needs.

Volunteer tutor screening, training, assessment and referral services are provided.

After volunteer tutors receive training they are matched or are waiting to be matched with adult learners.

Volunteer tutors meet regularly with adult learners, work toward the goals set by the learner, and report on their progress.

Continuing education/in-service opportunities are offered to volunteer tutors.

Support services are also offered for adult learners such as referral to community resources to assist in addressing barriers to the learner’s participation in literacy programming, as well as opportunities for learners to “stop-out” rather than “drop out” of the program when necessary, including options for homework, and a clear understanding that they will be welcomed back when ready.

The library has a method for gathering literacy data and uses the CLLS "Roles and Goals" form with its adult learners in order to gather outcomes data.

The library has a plan for increased local support, i.e., a financial commitment from the local jurisdiction.

Literacy staff participate in their regional network (BALIT, CVLLN, NCLC, SCLLN, CSJVLN, ILC, NCCLLN, SCCLP).

The library participates in, or is in the process of, establishing a local adult literacy coalition.

The library knows its community and the community's literacy needs

Libraries that choose to provide additional family literacy services to their adult learners with children under age 5 will comply with these program essentials:

Adult learner will set at least one goal within the Parent role of the Roles & Goals survey tool

Volunteer tutors who work with participating adult caregivers with children under age 5 are trained in and support family literacy concepts and practices.

Adult learners will be given additional instruction in:

  • the use of children’s books, in reading to children, in the selection of books on topics such as parenting, childcare, health, nutrition and family life education, and in how to create a literacy-rich environment at home.
  • activities like storytelling, word games and other exercises designed to promote the enjoyment of reading that they can share with their children.

Family literacy services are provided for the adult and child together.

If family literacy services are provided outside the public library setting, a strong connection to the library is made.

An important component of family literacy is building home libraries. Therefore, participating families should receive free children’s books for ownership, as well as other reading materials and incentives when possible.

Literacy and other library staff cooperate, partner and collaborate to assure integration of library services for participating adult caregivers and pre-school children.