Mayor’s adult literacy office celebrates anniversary with book distribution

In recognition of National Literacy Month, the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL) celebrated one year by hosting a “Drive-Up 4 Literacy” book distribution. Mayor Turner joined Houston Public Library (HPL) Director, Dr. Rhea Lawson, CITGO Petroleum Corporation’s Thomas Coleman, MOAL Director, Federico Salas-Isnardi, and HPL employees to distribute 35,000 books. The Molina Foundation donated a Book Buddies grant to make the distribution possible.

Literacy providers from Community Family Centers, Eastside University, the Chinese Community Center, and The Alliance received books for their learners. MOAL held the distribution in partnership with The Molina Foundation as part of its Families Learning Together campaign. The campaign is a national initiative to encourage literacy and reading skills during the summer and back-to-school season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to congratulate the MOAL on its anniversary of advocating for equitable and fair access to literacy skills,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This pandemic demonstrates that we need literate adults and families to tackle a health crisis affecting our communities. A City’s health and economic strength are determined by the resilience of its families and neighborhoods.”

Access to these books will help create word-rich communities in Houston that are healthy and complete. The event also served as a wonderful example of collaboration and support. The Houston Public Library, Houston Public Library Foundation, The Houston Food Bank, and CITGO Petroleum Corporation also partnered with MOAL in this endeavor.

As the nation’s only mayoral office for literacy advocacy, MOAL serves as an example of economic impact through service. The National Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) recognized this innovative approach and its influence over the last year. In recognition of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (AEFL Week), the organization awarded Mayor Turner with the 2020 Adult Education Leadership Award.

The demand has been great as more than 10,740 books have already been reserved across 21 providers around Houston! HPL (or MOAL) will distribute books on a first-come, first-served basis until the donation is exhausted. Literacy providers interested in receiving books should contact MOAL at 832-393-0308.

About Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL)

On September 17, 2019, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner officially launched the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy (MOAL.) MOAL focuses on enhancing adult literacy advocacy and promoting awareness about the impact of illiteracy on our economy, communities, families, and individuals. With one in three Houstonians unable to read, MOAL also promotes awareness, advocates, and helps build capacity for Adult Literacy and Adult Education causes and providers in the City of Houston. The launch of the office was made possible by a generous grant from the CITGO Petroleum Corporation. For more information about the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy, visit www.houstontx.gov/adultliteracy. You can also connect with the MOAL team via Facebook.

About the Houston Public Library

The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 37 neighborhood libraries, three HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. With more than eight million visits per year in person and online, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7. For more information, visit the Houston Public Library at www.houstonlibrary.org, on Twitter @houstonlibrary, on Facebook – houstonlibrary or call 832-393-1313.