Propagating Promising Practices for Literacy and Workforce Development at Libraries

World Education is excited to partner with the Providence Public Library (PPL) as well as the Chicago and Los Angeles Public Libraries on a new project, Propagating Promising Practices for Literacy and Workforce Development at Libraries.  The goal of this project is to increase adults’ skills by capturing, disseminating, and growing innovative education and workforce development practices in public libraries across the U.S.; and positioning public libraries as effective and welcoming community hubs for lifelong learning, digital inclusion, and economic empowerment. This three-year project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under its competitive National Leadership Grants.

The project builds upon and expands three practices already in place at the partner libraries:

Learning Lounges – a popular program at the Providence Public Library that serves as a place for adults to achieve their learning goals in an informal teacher- and technology-assisted environment. Job seekers may visit the Learning Lounge to get help with online job searches and applications, resume and cover letter writing, reading, writing and math skills, English language skills, and basic computer skills.

Mobile Learning – Los Angeles Public Library uses Cell-Ed, a mobile, bilingual English-Spanish learning service that delivers 3-minute lessons to mobile phones.  Courses are available 24/7 and live coaches are available to help guide learners through the registration process and courses.

Learning Circles – an innovative collaboration between the Chicago Public Library and Peer 2 Peer University that holds lightly facilitated study groups in person for learners who want to take online courses together. Learning Circles are peer supported, facilitated by non-content experts, hosted in publicly accessible spaces, designed to be taken with few prerequisites, and free for learners.

The three innovator libraries and six pilot libraries to be selected will implement one or two new approaches from among the three practices. World Education will conduct a developmental evaluation to guide and study how these practices can be implemented and combined in different library settings. We will also co-develop an interactive toolkit so that these innovative practices can be made accessible to libraries nationwide.  A team of project advisors from the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services; Maine State Library; American Library Association; and Peer2Peer University will provide expertise and help expand the project’s reach and impact.

“PPL is honored to convene such a dedicated and innovative group of partners with the shared goal of providing adults with opportunities to improve their skills.  We are eager to share our successes and learn best practices from others across the country to better serve our communities.  Public libraries are a critical component of the education and workforce development system and we welcome our community’s input and support to inform our efforts,” said PPL’s Education Director Karisa Tashjian.

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Silja Kallenbach

Silja Kallenbach

Silja is the Vice President of World Education, Inc. where she oversees the operations of WEI’s U.S. Division. Silja has 34 years of experience in adult education as administrator, professional development provider, program developer, researcher, and teacher. Silja is the recipient of the 2014 national award for Promoting Literacy Nationally and Internationally, issued by the Commission on Adult Basic Education.