The Western Massachusetts Writing Project is one of 15 organizations being honored by the Library of Congress for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. WMWP is among the organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading in the United States and worldwide that will be awarded the 2019 Library of Congress Literacy Awards at the National Book Festival gala, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today.
Hayden and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein will award the top prizes to ProLiteracy Worldwide of Syracuse, New York; American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults of Baltimore; and ConTextos of Chicago.
In her award letter to WMWP, Hayden cited WMWP for its outstanding contributions to increasing literacy. “We believe your organization serves as a unique and inspiring model for others seeking to advance literacy and literacy awareness,” she wrote.
“We are delighted to accept this generous Library of Congress Literacy Award,” said Jennifer Murphy, WMWP Co-Director of Youth and Family Programs. “This award will allow us to continue expanding our youth programs both at UMass Amherst and at the Springfield Armory.”
WMWP youth programs provide professional development opportunities for educators as well as engaging local youth in grades 3-12 in engaging writing programs.
WMWP’s Youth Writing Adventure invites students and educators to UMass’s campus annually for a creative writing day. Young people experience college life and have opportunities to share their work with peers and eventually publish. WMWP also offers week-long summer Youth Writing Workshops that include writing, learning, and visiting campus venues. This growing tuition-based program offers need-based scholarships.
WMWP partners with Springfield Armory National Historic Site with strategic goals of involving teachers and impacting students through writing-based historical inquiry. For five summers, WMWP and the Armory have co-hosted free summer camps for Springfield students at the Armory, enabling diverse youth to access primary sources and understand that the site’s story is their community’s story.
WMWP is a local site of the National Writing Project, sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of English and College of Humanities and Fine Arts. WMWP provides professional development and literacy leadership programs by teachers for teachers. More information is available at umass.edu/wmwp.
The Literacy Awards, originated by Rubenstein in 2013, honor organizations doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work. They spotlight the need for communities worldwide to unite in working for universal literacy.
“Literacy is the ticket to learning, opportunity and empowerment on a global scale,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress is proud to honor and celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary organizations in their efforts to advance reading levels and give people the foundation for a better life.”
David M. Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group. He is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and the chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council. More information on the awards is available at read.gov/literacyawards.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.