Santa Monica Public Library Establishes Adult Literacy Program

May 3, 2017

Santa Monica Public Library Establishes Adult Literacy Program

Santa Monica, California – Santa Monica Public Library is now offering adult literacy services to the Santa Monica community.  Part of the Library’s LEAF (Literacy Education for Adults & Families) initiative, the program offers free one-on-one tutoring for adult learners.  Volunteer literacy coaches are matched with adult learners for personalized tutoring sessions at Santa Monica Public Library locations.  Additionally, the Library will offer open lab sessions for adult learners wanting help with reading, writing, and using a computer.

The Library’s adult literacy program focuses on adult learners meeting their personal reading and writing goals, such as completing a job application, reading to their children or grandchildren, learning to use email, writing checks and paying bills, or obtaining a driver’s license.  Volunteer literacy coach and adult learner pairs meet regularly at Santa Monica Public Library locations, which provide spaces conducive to learning, as well as computers and literacy materials.  Adult literacy coaches must be 18 years of age or older, have an interest in building a learning relationship with another adult, be able to meet once or twice per week for one- to two-hour tutoring sessions, and be willing to make a six-month commitment to the program.  Adult learners receive free and confidential assistance with learning at their own pace.  They set personal reading and writing goals and receive one-on-one support from a literacy coach, at least once per week, at their convenience.

In 2016, Santa Monica Public Library was awarded a California Library Services grant from the California State Library in order to establish an adult literacy program.  The California State Library recently cited the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Adult Literacy, which found that nearly 25 percent of California adults lack basic literacy skills, which means they are unable read a newspaper, fill out a job application, read a story to their child, or read the instructions on a medicine bottle.  Additionally, as many as 4.5 million Californians over the age of 18 read below fourth grade levels.   Low adult literacy contributes to socioeconomic challenges, with a high percentage of prison inmates and those living in poverty testing at the lowest literacy levels.  Children of low-literate parents often aren’t read to and have few books in the home, leading to future generations of low-literate adults. 

Santa Monica Public Library’s adult literacy program complements many literacy-related services already provided by the Library.  In addition to ongoing programs such as Story Time for babies, toddlers, and preschool age children, the Reading-2-Go outreach program, and digital literacy classes for adults and teens, SMPL recently launched several literacy and educational services for adults.  Available at Santa Monica Public Library since 2016, the Career Online High School program provides students an accredited high school diploma and a certificate in a high-demand career field.  The Library’s Pico Branch location provides ongoing GED test preparation, as well as the LEAMOS (Let’s Read) program, a pre-ESL online literacy course that teaches Spanish-speaking adults to read and write.  Additionally, the Library has teamed up with Santa Monica’s Adult Education Center (part of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District) to provide ESL classes at the Fairview and Ocean Park Branch Libraries.

Santa Monica Public Library welcomes all adults who need help with reading or writing to contact us for more information.  If you or someone you know needs help with reading or writing, stop by any Library location, visit, or call (310) 458-8600 to learn more about the program.

This program is free and open to the public.  The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606.  All Santa Monica Public Library locations are served by the Big Blue Bus or the Expo Line; check for more information. Ride your bike.  Bicycle parking racks are available at the Library.

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