Two people standing in libraryParticipating libraries provide adult and family literacy services, free of charge, for English-speaking adults with low literacy skills. Tutoring is provided in one-to-one and small-group sessions that are tailored to each learner’s goals and aspirations. Libraries assign dedicated professional staff, contribute local funds, and use data about the community’s aspirations, assets, and needs to develop their literacy services.

Program staff conduct community outreach, maintain program data, develop and maintain partnerships, and participate in their local library literacy network and local adult literacy coalition.

Staff members conduct an intake interview with each new learner which includes screening, assessment, and possibly referring the learner to another community service if that service could better meet their needs. Staff match eligible learners with a tutor or place the learner on a waiting list until a tutor is available. Program staff also offer other supports to learners, including connections to other library programs and community resources.

Program staff recruit, screen, assess, and train volunteer tutors. This process also includes possibly referring the volunteer to another community opportunity if that opportunity could better meet their needs. After tutors have received training, they are matched or they wait to be matched with a learner. Volunteer tutors meet regularly with adult learners and report on their progress.

Both staff and volunteers use the Roles and Goals framework to implement and evaluate literacy services.

Learner Eligibility

Adults who are eligible to receive adult literacy services:
Participants holding up worksheets

  • Are 16 years or older and not concurrently enrolled in high school;
  • Seek literacy services for themselves and are able to do the intake interview in English;
  • Have completed the intake interview and have been assessed for basic literacy levels; and
  • Have established one or more personal literacy goals.

Families that are eligible to receive family literacy services:

  • Have one or more family members enrolled in California Library Literacy Services; or
  • Include an adult with low literacy skills who is eligible to be enrolled in California Library Literacy Services.

Governing and Guiding Documents

CLLS Allowable and Unallowable Expenses: Document outlining how libraries may and may not use their California Library Literacy Services funds (August 2023).

CLLS FAQ Sheet: Document outlining common questions from the CLLS community with guidance (January 2023).

California Library Literacy Services Funding Formula: The formula used to assess California Library Literacy Services awards.

California Library Literacy Services Law: The California Code that established the California Library Literacy and English Acquisition Service Program in 2003 and that guides program operations.

Community Conversations with Library Literacy Coordinators: A report on library literacy coordinators’ aspirations for California Library Literacy Services (February 2019).

Family Literacy Landscape Analysis: A review of California public libraries’ family literacy activities and a road map for developing new family literacy services (October 2015).

Strategic Plan, 2019-2022: A vision, goals, and plan of action for California Library Literacy Services through 2022.

CLLS Training Evaluation and Needs Assessment: Final Report: A report on the findings of an evaluation of current CLLS training opportunities and a needs assessment identifying the training needs of CLLS programs conducted between July 2022 – September 2022 (October 2022).

Records Retention

The California State Library asks programs to retain documents related to the literacy program for five years (not counting the current year). Library literacy staff should also check with their library administration for local requirements. 

Documents that should be retained include, but are not limited to, any materials used to complete your CLLS reports, such as budget documentation, tracking of local funds, staff commitment documentation, and learner and volunteer data (including instruction information, demographic information and Roles & Goals information).

New Coordinators

The Kansas University Center for Community Health and Development has created a Community Tool Box that includes comprehensive information on establishing an adult literacy program.

Welcome Packet for New Coordinators and Their Supervisors

In this document, you can get an overview of California Library Literacy Services Programs and the mission and values that drive them, and learn the nuts and bolts of coordinating a program. You’ll find everything from useful checklists for getting started, funding and reporting requirements, program management basics, an outcome-based planning framework, and additional resources to support you in your new role. 

Orientation Workshop for New Coordinators and Their Supervisors

California Library Literacy Services provides an annual orientation at the California Library Association conference for new coordinators and directors. Contact us about attending the next orientation.

Orientation Videos

The following presentations provide an introduction to California Library Literacy Services and literacy coordinators’ responsibilities. 

Part One: CLLS History and Legislation:

Presenter: Cathay Reta, Adult Literacy Consultant.  Recorded July 2017. (47:16)

CLLS_History_2017 slides  (PDF format, 2 slides per page)


Part Two: Community Outreach and Relationship Building:

Presenter: Cathay Reta, Adult Literacy Consultant. Recorded August 2017. (35:07)

Community_Outreach_slides  (PDF format)

CLLS_Outreach_Webinar_Worksheet  (DOCX format)