By Sabrina Westfall
The Washington Carnegie Public Library is continually working on programs and services to provide learning opportunities to all ages in the community.
One of the programs they recently began was an adult literacy program. Library Director Teresa Heidenreich said the program started last year, and is through the Department of Workforce Development’s Indiana Adult Basic Education program.
It focuses on adults who not only cannot read, but those who cannot read well.
Heidenreich said the program is led entirely by volunteers. She stressed the volunteer and learner are paired together on a learning need level, as well as a personal level in order to make the experience enjoyable.
“We call them learners because they are adults, and not students,” Heidenreich said.
The director said information she received showed roughtly a 10 percent illiteracy rate in the area, which to the library is way too high. She said any amount of illiteracy in the community is an issue that needs to be dealt with in order to assure everyone can be a productive member of society.
“We’ve had several people gain two or three reading levels,” she said.
Heidenreich said the goals for the adult literacy program range from boosting a reading level for a CNA exam to just being able to read to someone’s grandchild.
She said the exam for the nurse’s aid program is at an eighth grade reading level, and need a boost because many are coming in at a fifth grade level.
“Being able to read empowers a person to follow their dreams,” Heidenreich stressed.
The library offers a variety of programs for the continual learner, and offers different avenues to utilize library services.
The library does notary, faxing and exam proctoring.
They also have an extensive geneology program to learn more about family history and offer the ability to research the history.
There is a librarian on staff to help in the department.
“One librarian is still more powerful than 10,000 Google searches,” Heidenreich said.
The library launched a new website last week, which can be found at www.washingtonpubliclibrary.org.
Heidenreich said it was important to provide a website that could be accessed on mobile devices. It includes catalog information, programs offered, e-book information, reference tools, old newspaper archives, and other resources.