January 2009 Articles
Lisa Larson, OLN
The Ohio Literacy Network is a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to build Ohio’s workforce by strengthening adult and family literacy education. We focus on adult learners, because we know that when they model positive learning experiences for their children, a love of life-long learning develops. Our statewide referral and information hotline (1-800-228-7323) and online learning website were designed to assist adult learners in their quest to achieve their educational goals and to attain economic self-sufficiency.
Across Ohio over 1.2 million adults lack a diploma or a GED, 450,000 need of basic literacy skills and these numbers are increasing by 23,000 each year as students exiting high school lack many of these same credentials. The Ohio Literacy Network works to strengthen adult literacy in Ohio by: (1) connecting adult learners to hundreds of free public and home-based educational resources; (2) supporting local literacy programs by referring students and providing resources/materials for student education; (3) building literacy communities via collaborations with libraries, corporations, social service agencies and the media and (4) generating public awareness and advocacy campaigns in support of adult learners and local literacy programs.
Frequently, adult learners have a profound need for educational support and a low level of awareness about the free resources that are available to them. This is a great opportunity for librarians and the Ohio Literacy Network to work collaboratively to inform and support adult learners in need. Librarians can refer learners to our hotline which connects 6,000 adults each year to the educational resources they need to succeed at work and home. Our online learning website is another user-friendly, referral resource which connects adults to free education options such as local programs, online and home-based study tools.
Supporting learners in preparing for the GED exam is a significant part of the work the Ohio Literacy Network does with local libraries, cable and public television stations and the Ohio Community Computing Network. They are the statewide distributors of an amazing learning system called the GED Connection. This three part learning system features: 39 half hour video lessons, a set of three workbooks and an online practice and test preparation site. The online learning website provides learners a one-stop, 24/7 GED preparation resource where they can access streaming video or cablecast of the video lessons and they can use the exercises and practice tests available on Learning Express Library or PBS LiteracyLink.
How can Ohio’s librarians work with the Ohio Literacy Network to support adult literacy?