August 30, 2014
Amongst a number of recommendations, from a broad range of experts in the field of literacy and reading promotion, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has selected Room to Read to be the recipient of the Rubenstein Prize, one of three categories of the 2014 Library of Congress Literacy Awards. The prize is awarded to an organization that meets the highest standards of excellence in its operations and systems, has made outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy levels, and has demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth and breadth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy. The Rubenstein Prize includes a $150,000 monetary prize which will contribute to Room to Read’s efforts to help thousands of children across Asia and Africa develop literacy skills and a habit of reading.
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards were announced in 2013 as a program to help support organizations working to alleviate the problems of illiteracy. Originated and sponsored by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, the awards are administered by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people.
“Room to Read is honored to accept the Rubenstein Prize, a testament to our ongoing efforts for all children to pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world,” says Erin Ganju, Room to Read’s CEO and co-founder. “As we strive to impact 10 million children by the end of 2015, the Rubenstein Prize allows us to reach more deserving children sooner and ensure they are empowered through literacy and the opportunities it brings.”
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards also include the American Prize and the International Prize which have been awarded to the Oregon Children’s Foundation’s Start Making a Reader Today (SMART) program and the Mother Child Education Foundation, respectively.
“For the second year, David Rubenstein has generously funded these awards, which are so important in drawing attention to the widespread problems of illiteracy worldwide, as well as in providing needed funding to literacy organizations doing outstanding work,” says Billington. “The winning organizations, along with more than a dozen others, are contributing information about their ‘best practices’ to a publication that will offer ideas for replicating aspects of their programs.”