Celebrating its 30th year of literacy service, the Colusa County Library kicked off what appears to be a successful step towards closing the gap in literacy.
“Studies have shown that the ownership of a book increases the chance that individual will pick up and read a book and have increased reading levels,” said Colusa County Librarian Stacey Costello.
At the end of August, the Colusa County Library began its Free Book Giveaway at the Princeton library.
“We had an exceptional turnout in Princeton and Stonyford,” said Literacy Coordinator Alissa Morrow. “We gave away dozens of books.”
The books are appropriate for children aged 0 to 17.
On Thursday, the Colusa Branch Library held its free book giveaway with great success.
“It has been steady most of the afternoon,” said Morrow. “Many of the children were excited to get to take a book home.”
Morrow commented that the books were made available at no cost from a grant provided by the California Library Literacy Services.
According to Costello, Colusa County has the second lowest literacy rate in California, and 34% of Colusa County adults cannot read above a sixth-grade level. She stresses the importance of the Colusa County Literacy program, and its many strides on increasing literacy within the County.
“Over the past 30 years, the Literacy Program has helped more than 1,000 adults improve their English reading and writing skills. It is a fantastic program,” Costello explained.
Morrow spent the past year updating the curriculum and expanding the program to include Digital Literacy and the use of technology.
“She was able to purchase several iPads that will be used to not only improve basic reading skills but will also introduce basic computer skills as well,” said Costello. “The new literacy apps that are being developed are great tools that focus on multiple skills at one time.”
Costello added that the iPads are available for use in the Colusa Branch library when they are not being used for workshops.
“The iPads will have access to adult literacy apps as well as the new Footsteps to Brilliance app that the Colusa County Office of Education introduced this summer,” said Costello.
With the exception of the Literacy Coordinator, Costello explained that program is run by volunteers.
“We are continually recruiting as the need for assistance is growing, rather than shrinking. It is a testament to the community that we live in that so many people have dedicated one hour a week to help their neighbor improve their life,” said Costello.
Costello added that members of the program are hoping with new technology, more tutors and students will be encouraged to sign up.
“Being able to read and write can mean better chances of economic prosperity, both personally and for the entire community. It is one of the most worthwhile endeavors a person can make,” Costello emphasized.
The Colusa County Literacy Program, a volunteer, non-profit organization, was developed in 1986 to assist individuals aged 16 or older in improving their basic reading and writing skills in English. The curriculum matches individuals with a trained volunteer tutor where customized lessons are provided in a one-on-one setting. Tutors and students meet at their local library once or twice a week for lessons.
Individuals seeking to enroll in the tutoring program or who would like to become a tutor can contact Morrow at (530) 458-0373.■