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The San Benito County Library Adult Literacy Program and California Library Literacy celebrate 30 years of providing learning opportunities for adults and their families in San Benito County and throughout the State of California. To mark the milestone of this volunteer-based program, the state is launching a month-long awareness campaign titled “Together, California Reads” to encourage communities to support the efforts of their local public library in raising adult literacy rates statewide. 

Locally, the Friends of the Library and the San Benito County Free Library will host an Open House Anniversary Celebration Thursday, Sept. 18 from 2-7:30 p.m. An anniversary cake (2-3 p.m.), children’s crafts and story times (4-5 p.m.), and a presentation honoring the accomplishments of learners and tutors in our program (6-7:30 p.m.) are a few of the activities scheduled. Throughout the day, technology demonstrations will be held on using electronic devices, navigating our newly launched website, and accessing the library’s databases. The Friends of the Library will also be holding a Book Sale for great buys on like new books for all ages.The San Benito County Adult Literacy Program was founded in 1984 by then County Librarian 

Jo Wahdan who obtained a state grant under the Library Services and Construction Act for 

literacy materials to start a program. This program has continued for 30 years with only brief 

interruptions due to funding constraints. Adult Literacy has been partially funded by a California 

Library Literacy Grant since 2007 when Library Director Nora Conte and the Friends of the 

Library applied for literacy state funding. Since the program’s inception volunteer tutors have 

helped workers from local canneries, inmates from the San Benito County jail, and hundreds of 

residents throughout the county who want to improve their lives and the lives of their families. 

Presently, the Adult Literacy Program has incorporated digital literacy as an important program 

component. Throughout the program’s 30 year history, the Friends of the Library have been 

valued supporters, assisting in securing state and corporate funding and have passionately 

dedicated their time and energy to recruiting new learners and tutors for the program.

Over the years hundreds of San Benito County residents have given their time and of 

themselves to help those in need of improving their reading skills, basic education and English 

Language skills. Last year, California public libraries provided services at 558 locations to 

21,192 adult learners through nearly 10,700 volunteers generating over 500,000 hours of 

service. Working with their volunteer tutors, California adult learners achieved significant 

literacy goals. 72% of those who set goals were able to share a book with their child and 

65% were able to help their children with their homework. 65% were able to complete a job 

application and 57% wrote their own resume. “What’s awesome is the magic that happens 

when learners and tutors come together,” said Carla Lehn, California Library Literacy Services 

program coordinator. “Not only is the learner’s life changed for the better but so is the 

volunteer, even though they may be giving just a couple of hours a week.” 

For more information about the Adult Literacy Program and to learn how you can become 

a literacy tutor volunteer call (831) 636-4107 ext. 20 or visit the library’s website at http://

www.sanbenitofl.org/services/adult-literacy/.

For more information about the Adult Literacy Program or how to become a literacy tutor, call Wendy Kay or Rosa Garcia at (831) 636-4107 ext. 20 or visit the library’s website.