Literacy and Wrap Around Services
READ Adult Literacy
The mission of the READ Adult Literacy program at the Ventura County Library is to help adults improve reading and writing skills so that they perceive positive impact on their lives in such areas as self-esteem, employment, family life, and community involvement. 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. Private support will help the library expand the world of books and reading to adult learners and children.
The READ Program trains volunteers to provide free one-to-one reading and writing instruction. The Ventura County Library has been offering this program since 1984. Administrative costs are included in the Ventura County Library’s budget, but vital additional funding comes from partnerships with other agencies, state grants and donations from businesses and service organizations. The Foundation serves as recipient for monetary donations to the READ Adult Literacy program.
Literacy instruction takes place in library, school, community and jail facilities throughout Ventura County. These sites are managed by part-time professional educators, referred to as site supervisors. Site supervisors are available during specified times to assess learner’s reading levels, interview tutors, match students with tutors, recommend teaching materials and provide support for learning partners.
The READ Adult Literacy program also provides the Ventura County Library’s Career Online High School (COHS) resource which offers adults the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate online.
Project Overview/Need: Ventura County Library, in collaboration with Ventura County Probation Agency, is pleased to announce a new AmeriCorps program focused on literacy tutoring for incarcerated adults, ages 18 to 25, at the Ventura County Juvenile Justice Facility. Thanks to a generous donation from the Ventura County Library Foundation, two full-time AmeriCorps members will serve as Learning Coaches for one year starting October 2022.
The goal is to help individuals improve reading and writing skills and find academic success in the Probation Agency’s new Providence Scholars initiative. The Ventura County Office of Education’s Providence School currently partners with the Probation Agency to provide educational services to the minors incarcerated in the Detention and Commitment Housing Areas within the Facility.
Project Plan: Learning Coaches from AmeriCorps will help deliver high-quality educational experiences, foster a sense of belonging, and offer opportunities for personal growth to incarcerated adults in a challenging, safe, and supportive learning environment. The Library will be responsible for recruiting, supervising, and training Learning Coaches using the proven READ Adult Literacy tutoring model.
The Library Foundation is providing $5,000 for each AmeriCorps member—for a total of $10,000—under a cost-sharing agreement with California Library Literacy Services, a department of the California State Library. This agreement allows each member to be eligible to receive a $25,500 living allowance and a $10,000 education award. In addition to obtaining professional development that sharpens skills and bolsters resumes, members connect to a network of over 500 employers who value the AmeriCorps experience.
This program aligns with the Library Foundation’s vision of creating a community where all people are engaged, literate, and empowered to participate in society.
Lunch at the Library
The Ventura County Library Foundation helps to support the Lunch at the Library program. Lunch at the Library 2021 was again awarded $1500 from Premier America Credit Union. Lunch at the Library 2020, was awarded a $3,000 grant from the California Library Association as well as $1500 from Premier America Credit Union..
The Lunch at the Library program helps ensure no child or teen goes hungry during their summer school break. The program is open to all children and teens up to 18 years of age. There is no sign-up or income verification necessary. Children and teens are offered a healthy lunch along with fun summer activities at the Lunch at the Library.
One County, One Book
2019 One County, One Book: Susan Orlean’s “The Library Book”
The Ventura County Library Foundation helped to sponsor the 2019 One County, One Book program that featured journalist and bestselling author Susan Orlean’s best seller, The Library Book.
Many programs and book discussion groups were offered throughout the county as part of this month-long celebration of reading and literature, including a special capstone event featuring Susan Orlean at California State University Channel Islands which was followed by a Q&A moderated by Stacie N. Galang, Editor and Content Coach with the Ventura County Star.
Over 300 people attended the author program, which was made possible through a primary sponsorship from CSUCI along with additional sponsorships from a host of other organizations including California Lutheran University, Ventura College, the Museum of Ventura County, the Museum of Ventura County’s Docent Volunteer Council, the Camarillo Public Library, the Calabasas Library, the Ventura Friends of the Library, the Ojai Valley Library Friends & Foundation, and the Ventura County Library
Foundation. One County, One Book 2019 was also made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities (visit www.calhum.org).