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Literacy Help Center

Broward County Library

Innovation Leader: Vonda Ward Bryant, Learning Services Coordinator, vbryant@browardlibrary.org

Problem Statement

Due to budget cutbacks, adult literacy, English language, and computer technology programs were either eliminated or severely reduced in 2009. However, there was still a great demand and critical need for Broward County youth and adults to have free access to these services. For many in our community, the library is their only access to free homework help, literacy services and computer skills training.

Innovation

To address the needs of the swelling numbers of adults and children requesting homework help, English language learning programs and computer access at neighborhood libraries and the lack of staff to accommodate the requests, BCL implemented the Literacy Help Center in 4 low-income, underserved areas in 2010. Funded by an LSTA grant, the program is designed to assist students in Grades K-12 with homework, especially in the areas of basic math, English and science, and to provide enhanced literacy and English language programs for adults, as well as to increase the availability of computer technology to students and adults. A part-time literacy coordinator at each branch creates literacy programming and activities. In addition, 10 laptops are available to solely help develop computer literacy skills with the program’s clientele.

Progress

In 2010, the Literacy Help Center project provided an additional 564 literacy and technology based programs for approximately 4,150 customers. These are programs and services that would not have been possible without the implementation of this program. Homework Help was provided for over 2,000 students; English Language and Adult Literacy programs were provided for more than 1,100 customers; the laptops were used approximately 930 times; 175 new library cards were issued to program participants. The program was expanded to 4 additional sites (total of 8 locations) in fall 2010 thanks to additional LSTA funding.