Putnam County, IN – June 22, 2020 – At the Putnam County Public Library, we believe literacy is a right, not a privilege. Unfortunately, not everyone has circumstances that allow for a successful education. Due to financial restrictions, students may drop out of school, some may drop out to get a job in order to help support their household, some may not have transportation, some may not have a stable home life or parental unit to ensure they’re attending school, et cetera.
There are many factors that have led to high rates of low-level literacy in the United States. While library staff can’t do much to prevent these unique circumstances, we can certainly help remedy the aftermath using the resources we have and the services we provide.
PCPL has worked tirelessly to provide an adult education service for this exact purpose. Within this program, we connect tutors with learners to improve literacy skills. Learners aren’t always illiterate; some learners have special needs, some need help getting a GED or a driver’s license, and some just want to improve their reading skills.
We work with other services within Putnam County in order to better serve our community. Area 30, Putnam County Comprehensive Services, and WorkOne have referred learners to us and helped us shape our program from the beginning. Working with other businesses in the community allows us to stay in tune with what is needed within Putnam County.
PCPL also provides many materials and one-on-one help to make sure progress continues within each tutor/learner pairing. The library’s Adult Education Coordinator, Chloe Hedger, is always available to help any prospective or current tutors and learners within our program. We have a large number of resources and materials to help our learners reach their goals.
We strive to make improving literacy as easy and as comfortable as possible. PCPL genuinely cares about learners and tutors and will always go above and beyond to help them reach their goals. The tutor and learner pair typically meets at least once a week, usually for an hour at a time. We understand that low-level literacy can be a sensitive topic for some, and can keep things as private and comfortable as necessary. For this reason, we have study rooms available for reservation. Alternatively, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, PCPL has put forth efforts to make our program available online.
Our online tutoring program is a great alternative to meeting in person. By going online, tutors and learners are able to do video or voice chat and meet completely virtually. This option is beneficial for those who don’t have access to transportation, have a hectic schedule, have a weak immune system, or simply prefer to keep their literacy journey private.
Our tutors are volunteers, dedicated to helping those within our community. Prospective tutors complete an in-depth application, are interviewed by the Adult Education Coordinator and are trained to prepare them for the task. Learners can come in by their own accord, but many learners are referred to our program. Learners are evaluated by myself, then paired with a tutor.
PCPL’s adult education service began in 2017, with only a few tutors and learners. We have steadily increased our initial numbers but in the interest of furthering the services that we provide, we hope to reach more people with more resources. For this reason, we are always looking for more tutors and learners. It is important to not only our program but the community as a whole, that we are leaving no stone unturned. We want to make sure that every citizen in our area is receiving any literacy help they need. Again, we believe that literacy is a right, not a privilege.
We are currently looking for both learners and tutors interested in meeting virtually! If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, contact us by calling (765)-653-2755, or email Chloe Hedger, Adult Education Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.