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Literacy & Education

Research reveals lower literacy rates correlate to lower academic achievement, fewer job skills and less opportunity for personal advancement. Literacy also is essential to a healthy democracy with lower skilled readers less likely to vote or actively engage in social and civic activities. The library’s award-winning literacy programs build literacy skills among learners of all ages. Private support helps the library expand the world of books and reading to adult learners and children.


READ/San Diego – The library’s adult literacy program serves the estimated 442,000 San Diego adults who cannot read and write well enough to meet everyday needs. The program received the American Library Association’s Advancement of Literacy Award and was a U.S. Department of Education model program. READ has helped more than 22,000 San Diego adults learn to read and write by training and supporting more than 300 reading tutors. With continued support from contributors and its new expansive home in the Mae Bell Page Literacy Services Area on the Central Library’s eighth floor, READ Director Valerie Hardie projects the program will have an even greater life-changing impact. “I see miracles happen in the workplace,” says Hardie.

Families for Literacy – This program introduces families who are low-literate English speakers to the services of the public library and teaches parents how to read to their children.


One Book, One San Diego – In its seventh year, the program brings San Diego together to read and discuss an important book each year. A partnership between KPBS and the San Diego Public Library, the program features author events, book discussions at libraries, a children’s element and other in-library events.


Isabel Schon International Center for Spanish Books for Youth  Is a circulating library that promotes literacy and reading. The Center, located adjacent to the Central Library’s Stanford Children’s Library, ensures broad access to high-quality books for children and adolescents in Spanish and in English about Latino people and culture.


Student Writing for Literacy Essay Contest – A partnership among the Library, the Friends of the Library and the San Diego Unified School District Library Media Teachers, the Student Writing for Literacy Essay Contest promotes literacy through reading and writing. Students in the fourth, eighth and tenth grades (both public and non-public school students) served by a San Diego Public Library are eligible to enter.