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Reference Desk

A listing of orgaizations, associations, offices and funders involved in adult literacy and libraries.

American Library Association (ALA)

  • Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS)

    The Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) serves libraries and the American Library Association by supporting and promoting literacy and equity of information access initiatives for traditionally underserved populations.

  • Office for Diversity (AFD)

    The American Library Association Office for Diversity serves as a resource on professional issues related to diversity.

  • Public Information Office (PIO)

    The ALA public information office develops and implements strategic communications plans tied to association goals and priorities in the areas of media relations, advocacy, public education, and crisis communications.

  • Public Programs Office (PPO)

    The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to foster cultural programming as an integral part of library service in all types of libraries.

Library Associations

  • The Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL)

    The Association of Rural and Small Libraries serves libraries of all types including public, school, small urban branches, special and corporate, and small academic libraries with limited budgets and diverse clientele.

  • The Canadian Library Association (CLA)

    The Canadian Library Association is the national English language association that speaks for the interests Canadians and Canadian college, university, public, special (corporate, non-profit and government) and school libraries.

  • State Library Associations
    • California

      CLA provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services, librarianship, and the library community. CLA is resource for learning about new ideas and technology and influencing legislation affecting libraries and librarians.

    • Florida

      The Florida Library Association (FLA) develops programs and undertakes activities to earn it a leadership position for all areas of librarianship.

    • Illinois

      The Illinois Library Association provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services in Illinois and for the library community, in order to enhance learning and ensure access for all.

    • Indiana

      The Indiana Library Federation (ILF) is the largest professional organization for library and media center staff and supporters in Indiana. ILF keeps its members at the cutting-edge of their profession and offers opportunities for continuing education, library community leadership, and networking.

    • Maine

      The Maine Library Association promotes and enhances the value of libraries and librarianship, fosters cooperation among those who work in and for libraries, and provides leadership to ensure that information is accessible to all citizens via their libraries.

    • Maryland

      The Maryland Library Association provides leadership for those who are committed to libraries by providing opportunities for professional development and communication and by advocating principles and issues related to librarianship and library service.

    • Massachusetts

      The Massachusetts Library Association advocates with the legislature to fund services that help serve patrons, ensures access to a network of colleagues from across the state, and provides tools and support when libraries face intellectual freedom challenges.

    • Nevada

      The Nevada Library Association promotes librarianship and the highest quality library services for all present and potential users of libraries in Nevada.

    • New Hampshire

      The New Hampshire Library Association (NHLA) is a professional association of library personnel, trustees, and library supporters that works to advance the interests of its members through advocacy on library issues, increasing public awareness of library service, and supporting the professional development of members.

    • North Carolina

      An affiliate of the American Library Association and the Southeastern Library Association, the North Carolina Library Association is the only statewide organization promoting libraries, library and information services, librarianship, intellectual freedom and literacy in North Carolina.

    • Pennsylvania

      The Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) is the state's oldest and most diverse professional library organization serving libraries, library employees, library trustees, and Friends of the Library groups.

    • Texas

      The Texas Library Association was established to promote, support, and improve library services by advancing the standards and ideals of the profession and encouraging the identification, development, and maintenance of library services to meet the informational, cultural, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Texas.

    • Vermont

      The Vermont Library Association is an educational organization working to develop, promote, and improve library and information services and librarianship in the state of Vermont.

    • Virginia

      The Virginia Library Association is a statewide organization dedicated to developing, promoting, and improving library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to advance literacy and learning and to ensure access to information in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    • Washington

      The purpose of the Washington Library Association is to promote library services, continuing education, and library advocacy on behalf of the people of Washington State.

Adult Education, Literacy and Language

  • Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy (CAAL)

    The Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy's mission is to help advance adult literacy in the United States. CAAL pursues an agenda of issues that bears critically on policy, practice, and planning, especially at the state and federal levels.

  • Commission On Adult Basic Education (COABE)

    The Commission on Adult Basic Education is organized to advance national and international adult education and literacy opportunities for all persons. COABE provides leadership, communication, professional development, and advocacy for adult education and literacy practitioners in order to advance quality services for all adult learners.

  • Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy

    The Mission of the Goodling Institute is to improve family literacy education through research and its application to practice and professional development. The Goodling Institute provides national leadership to support and maintain high quality, integrated programs for families with educational needs.

  • Illinois Literacy Resource Development Center (ILRDC)

    The Illinois Literacy Resource Development Center is dedicated to improving literacy policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The ILRDC provides guidance in program development in the areas of assessment and evaluation, family literacy, work force education, resource development, and public policy.

  • LiteracyUSA

    Literacy USA promotes and strengthens literacy coalitions as they create literate communities, thereby enhancing the quality of the lives of individuals and the vitality of our society.

  • National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL)

    The mission of the National Center for Family Literacy is to create educational and economic opportunity for the most at-risk children and parents. NCFL envisions a world where every child in every community receives the literacy support he or she needs from responsible, caring adults in order to succeed in school and in life.

  • The National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL)

    The National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) both informs and learns from practice. NCSALL is also a leader in designing innovative professional development programs and in building support for research use, and its research increases knowledge and gives those teaching, managing, and setting policy in adult literacy education a sound basis for making decisions.

  • National Coalition for Literacy (NCL)

    The National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) works to increase public awareness and understanding of adult literacy and English language development, to foster collaboration at the national level among public and private organizations promoting adult literacy and English language development, and to promote a comprehensive approach to adult literacy and English language development research and its dissemination and application.

  • National Institute for Literacy (NIFL)

    The National Institute for Literacy's activities to strengthen literacy across the lifespan are authorized by the U.S. Congress under two laws, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) in the Workforce Investment Act and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NIFL convenes leaders in other federal agencies and from the field to guide the creation of national programs and resources.

  • ProLiteracy Worldwide

    ProLiteracy Worldwide was formed by the 2002 merger of Laubach Literacy International and Literacy Volunteers of America, Inc. ProLiteracy Worldwide is the oldest and largest nongovernmental literacy organization in the world and pursues a mission of sponsoring educational programs that help adults and their families acquire the literacy practices and skills they need to function more effectively in their daily lives.

  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

    Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL), is a global education association that is recognized as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) of the United Nations Department of Public Information. Its mission is to ensure excellence in English language teaching to speakers of other languages.

  • Voice for Adult Literacy United for Education (VALUE)

    VALUE works to expand the role of adult learners in adult literacy efforts in the United States through assistance in recruitment of new learners into adult education programs, retention of learners in programs, resource development, and reforming education.

Community Partners

  • National Center for Outreach (NCO)

    NCO's overriding goal is to assist Public Broadcasting System (PBS) stations in providing meaningful outreach to local communities, fostering community partnerships by supporting PBS stations' outreach missions, communicating pipeline opportunities, and funding local outreach with annual grants.

  • Community Partnerships for Adult Learning (C-PAL)

    The US Department of Education's Community Partnerships for Adult Learning (CPAL) Web site is dedicated to encouraging the creation of partnerships to improve the quality of adult education in the United States. The site includes a broad range of community building and adult education resources, including how-to’s, research reports, and links to relevant websites, sorted by topic and potential user.


  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is building upon the opportunities of the 21st century to improve equity in global health and learning. The foundation was created in January 2000, through the merger of the Gates Learning Foundation, which worked to expand access to technology through public libraries, and the William H. Gates Foundation, which focused on improving global health.

  • Dollar General Literacy Foundation

    The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports non-profit organizations within Dollar General’s market area that are established for public use and have an active 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Service Code. Eligible organizations within the Dollar General market area must be committed to increasing the functional literacy of adults or families and must provide direct literacy services within their community.

  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

    The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent Federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities.

  • Verizon Foundation

    The philanthropic mission of the Verizon Foundation is to foster relationships and partnerships that address social and economic needs in America's diverse communities. Verizon partners with organizations that focus on literacy and education initiatives, technology and work force development programs, and domestic violence solutions. Through Verizon Volunteers, Verizon encourages employees and customers to make a difference by donating their time, money, and talents to nonprofit agencies.

  • The Wallace Foundation

    The Wallace Foundation supports nonprofit public charitable organizations that are tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Wallace Foundation traces its origins back a half century to the philanthropic impulses of DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association and seeks to support and share effective ideas and practices that will strengthen education leadership, arts participation and out-of-school learning.


2004 American Library Association.