Sullivan Free Library's Blog

May 21, 2010

Madison County Literacy Coalition

Today I attended a luncheon held at Colgate University to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the founding of the Madison County Literacy Coalition.

Carolyn Gerakopolous, Director of the Oneida Public Library and Morris Atwood, Coordinator for the Madison County Reads Ahead program have done a tremendous job of pulling together all of the groups who should be involved with adult literacy in Madison County and motivating them to pool resources to tackle this very significant problem.

Of the over 70,000 people living in Madison County, more than 5500 have below basic literacy literacy skills and 16.7% have not completed a high school diploma or its equivalent. These are disturbing facts. In our society, it is impossible to get by without literacy skills, not only for reading and writing, but for computers and health care.

Senator David Valesky was the keynote speaker at today’s event. He made the point that 73 billion dollars is spent each year on unnecessary health care expenses that are attributable to poor literacy. It is not hard to imagine the countless better ways that money could be utilized.

Both branches of the Sullivan Free Library have been partners with the Madison County Reads Ahead program since it’s inception, providing space for one-to-one tutoring, the storage of tutoring materials and the training of literacy volunteers. At the beginning of 2010, the library was pleased to hire Donna Bocketti as the first Adult Literacy Coordinator for the Town of Sullivan. Ms. Bocketti works with Madison County Reads Ahead to pair up tutors and students, and to promote the program in the Town of Sullivan.

For more information about the Madison County Literacy Coalition, visit their website (unveiled today!) at:
madisoncountyliteracycoaliton.org

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