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Ozarks Literacy Council Shares Mission, Now Space with the Library

The Ozarks Literacy Council and the Springfield-Greene County Library District share a mission to improve and enrich the lives of others. Beginning Monday, we also share work space.

The council has moved from a downtown office to the lower level of the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, 397 E. Central St., which also houses the library district’s computer skills training lab, the Edge Community Technology Center.

Ozarks Literacy Council will continue to operate independently, and is sharing office space at no charge through a letter of agreement with the library district. It’s a United Way agency and receives an annual allocation. Extra funding comes from grants, donations, and fundraisers including Pizza Bowl and Trivia Night. With a new office comes a new phone number, 616-0505.

Our new partnership is such a natural fit, it’s a wonder we didn’t do it sooner. The Ozarks Literacy Council offers free, one-on-one tutoring for all ages to improve reading and writing skills, child and family literacy programs and reading advocacy. Tutors and students are already welcome to meet at area libraries. As the learners progress, they can take advantage of all the library’s collections and online resources. And the Edge Community Technology Center can help them go beyond, with classes on how to type, become comfortable with basic computing and more advanced skills.

“Becoming computer literate is a natural progression for learners,” says Ozarks Literacy Council Director Kathy Pinkley. “We are very excited about this partnership.”

Pinkley says about 6 percent of Greene County’s population is illiterate, and another 28 percent has only the skills necessary to perform simple and everyday literacy activities.

In 2011, some 51 adults and 23 children were served through the one-on-one tutoring program. The “learners” ranged in age from 8 to 80. They may include children who fall behind in their grade level in reading and just need help catching up, and adults who have such low literacy levels they are unable to read a bedtime story to their children.

“The library district felt that Ozarks Literacy Council was providing valuable services to the community and wanted to help,” says Library Executive Director Regina Cooper. “Both organizations’ goals are clearly aligned. Providing office space was the right thing to do.”

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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