Sherry Drobner, Richmond Public library
Program director, Literacy for Every Adult Project (LEAP)
Richmond has a 60% high school dropout rate; and many dropped out at 9th grade or earlier. Some never went to school at all, especially older folks who have recently been laid off. Some don’t qualify for job training programs. LEAP partners with adult schools and community colleges, getting about 10-15 new students weekly, half of whom are referred – with that kind of business, there’s no need for outreach!
Richmond feels that a big part of the library’s relevance is providing access to opportunities. The problem is not simply word decoding, because many can do that, but other kinds of literacy: reading comprehension, reading ourselves, reading the world, knowing the systems required to navigate in that world. Over half of the literacy students have young chldren and staff is working with them, too.