Every month, we like to share the spotlight with one of our member programs to show how they are supporting their community and improving adult literacy rates. This month’s Member Spotlight is on the Ozark Literacy Council and its effort to spread literacy across Northwest Arkansas while raising money for its program.
Have you heard of Little Free Library? Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization and a worldwide movement aimed at promoting reading, building communities, and launching creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges in small containers where users can utilize the “take a book – return a book” approach.. Little Free Library supports the exchange of millions of books every year and provides communities with access to free books for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Every Little Free Library acts as a site for neighbors and visitors to gather and share their love for reading.
Since 2009, the nonprofit organization’s grassroots movement has led to about 25,000 libraries around the world. That number will continue to grow thanks to organizations like Ozark Literacy Council (OLC).
The OLC, in collaboration with the NWA American Institute of Architects, and the Fay Jones School of Architects, recently launched its Little Free Library: Building Literacy. Building Community. project in an effort to bring Little Free Libraries to Northwest Arkansas. Proceeds from this project will support OLC’s educational and outreach programs.
The OLC recently held a competition in which students had the opportunity to submit Free Little Library design plans to be available for future sites.
Interested individuals or organizations can become sponsors and have a Little Free Library built in their communities. Communities throughout Northwest Arkansas will benefit from the project, including homeless shelters, senior homes, hospitals and clinics, and neighborhoods. The sponsorships range from $3,000 to $6,000. A portion of the sponsorship goes toward the official design, supplies, and construction of the Little Free Library. Benefits of the sponsorship include:
- Choice of library design from competition winner or professional designs
- Name or company name on the Free Little Library
- Featured in Little Free Library and OLC promotions
- Library location of their choice
- Site consultation with the Amirian Institute of Architects
- Volunteer steward to maintain library and keep it stocked
- Inclusion in the Little Free Library’s worldwide map and network of 25,000 libraries
Lela Tisdale discovered the significant role that adult literacy programs play in their communities during her travels to Palestine. While traveling abroad, she met and was inspired by Jamil Shami, an adult literacy tutor trained through the Laubach adult literacy method.
Tisdale’s inspiration later planted the seeds to establish and continually develop Arkansas’s oldest and largest literacy council, the Fayetteville Company of Compassion (later to be called the Ozark Literacy Council). Since its establishment 52 years ago, OLC has continued to develop and gain support while serving individuals from around the world. The organization provides four levels of one-on-one tutoring and classes in adult basic skills and English as a second language. The basic, beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels all cover language, civic skills, financial literacy, health, and workforce preparation.
Thank you, OLC, for your hard work and for being a literacy advocate for the communities across Northwest Arkansas!