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Adult Learner Leadership Institute (ALLI)

(Formerly Henry Huffman Leadership Institute)

Photos from ALLI boot camps!


What is ALLI?

ALLI stands for Adult Learner Leadership Institute. The Institute is a statewide training program designed for adult learners by adult learners to improve their leadership, communication and advocacy skills. It was founded in memory of Henry Huffman, an extraordinary learner leader of the Santa Clara County Reading Program. He inspired other learners to advocate actively for the cause of adult literacy in the community. Henry Huffman died in 1996 but through the Institute, his vision for learner leadership lives on.

The training is now available as a weekend "boot camp" model meeting for 2 ½ days starting on a Friday afternoon. Adult learners must be able to attend all sessions (2 ½ days) in order to be accepted. The session topics include leadership skills, self-esteem, setting and achieving goals, public speaking, presentation skills, and networking. Several of the Institute's graduates have helped facilitate the workshops at the Institute.

The California Library Literacy Services of the California State Library has supported the Institute since 2000 through LSTA Literacy Initiative.

Who can join ALLI?

Adult learners who are enrolled in a CLLS library literacy program for at least six months can apply to attend ALLI. The ALLI program is best suited for learners who have improved in their literacy skills, have demonstrated some leadership potential and can communicate their thoughts. The Institute will not teach them reading, writing and speaking English. The Institute will help them explore their leadership skills, develop/improve self-esteem and confidence, learn advocacy and public speaking skills, all through practical exercises.

We hope to empower the adult learners by helping bring out their leadership skills, strengthen them and apply those skills to help themselves, their library and their community.

ALLI Facilitators

ALLI Facilitators are selected from ALLI graduates from previous years. Each year, learners who performed well and demonstrated strong leadership and public speaking skills during the ALLI sessions are given an opportunity to help facilitate the next ALLI boot camp. This gives them the experience to strengthen and apply the skills learned from the training program so that they can inspire and become role models for the next set of potential learner leaders. Our goal is to give more learners (who have gone through the ALLI training program) opportunities to apply what was learned and therefore we utilize different ALLI graduates to facilitate ALLI sessions each time. This will help us produce a pool of "learner leaders" who can become excellent advocates and mentors. ALLI facilitators are given additional training on facilitating which teaches them to be more resourceful and confident leaders.

What are the benefits of attending ALLI?

Learners who have attended ALLI have shown improved self-esteem and confidence. Some have volunteered to speak at learner and tutor orientations, some have attended and spoke at Council meetings, some have spoken before legislative budget hearings, at service club meetings, and at schools.

This training program is FREE and includes meals during the weekend boot camp. Training materials are also given to attendees and limited overnight accommodations are available for those whom travel would be a hardship and some might qualify for mileage reimbursement. Thanks for the generous support and sponsorship by the California Library Literacy Services of the California State Library.

Learners who attend ALLI will have many opportunities to express their thoughts and ideas and an opportunity to present a 3-5 minute speech. For most learners it will be their first experience to speak in front of a group. After attending all sessions of the training program, learners will receive certificates during graduation on Sunday afternoon.

Here are some comments from ALLI graduates:

"When I first started in the Institute I was scared. I didn't know what to expect. I'm glad I attended the classes. I can speak up at church now without feeling fearful. My confidence is higher. I share with the children in my community about literacy."

"The classes were enriching and informative and have helped me in every aspect of my life, especially at school."

"I am now able to speak in public with more confidence and able to advocate for literacy now."

"The Institute has changed my life in many ways, I'm more outgoing and my self-esteem has grown a lot. Now I'm giving back to my program by presenting self-esteem workshops in my community."

"I have less fear of speaking up in a group and have more confidence now. I have learned to listen to other's opinions. I would encourage everyone to participate in the program."

"It was good working with others in the program. I was able to learn to work as a tem player. My self-esteem is higher now. The classes helped me not to freeze up when speaking up at work."

"Learners teaching learners is one of the most excellent programs that the literacy program can offer to their learners. This program helps us to step out of our boxes and support one another."

Graduates of the Adult Learner Leadership Institute can be your future "Literacy Ambassadors."

We would like to invite literacy coordinators to encourage your adult learners who have gained confidence in their literacy skills and are ready to take the next step, to participate. Please see attached ALLI Application Form to distribute to potential learner leaders in your CLLS library literacy programs.

If your library is interested in hosting the ALLI Boot Camp, please contact Carla Lehn at (916) 653-7743 or email

Thank you for your support and commitment to the Adult Learner Leadership Institute

Application for Participant: WORD Doc to be downloaded and edited by coordinator.


Fill out application online: PDF and print.