Monday, February 05, 2007

Libraries are invaluable for Literacy Volunteers

First published in the Times Union: Sunday, February 4, 2007

No doubt contrary to the writer's intention, committeeman Albert Paolucci's comment in these pages, "Libraries we don't need," prompted a flood of letters in support of the library bond that will be proposed to voters on Tuesday. Literacy Volunteers would like to add to the chorus of voices advocating improvements to Albany's public library system.
We wonder if Mr. Paolucci knows that Literacy Volunteers -- Mohawk/Hudson, which has been providing free instruction to Albany adults in reading, writing, and speaking English for more than 40 years, relies almost exclusively on our public libraries for space and resources. Most of our volunteer tutors meet with their students in the safe and welcoming atmosphere of a neighborhood library.
There are private rooms in which to hold lessons, books and other educational materials easily accessible, and friendly and knowledgeable librarians to offer professional advice.
Our tutor training workshops and inservices are held in the libraries, and the Pine Hills Branch houses a special literacy resource center for the use of tutors. Many of our adult students apply for their first library card at the encouragement of their tutors, beginning a lifelong practice of reading that many of us take for granted.
Literacy Volunteers could not fulfill its mission of "changing lives and building community by strengthening literacy skills" in the commercial atmosphere of Borders or Barnes & Nobles or the research ambience of the New York State Library. We urge residents to vote yes to support their local libraries.
Executive Director
Literacy Volunteers
Mohawk/Hudson, Inc.

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