US Library of Congress honours Port Alberni’s literacy society

The American Library of Congress has recognized Literacy Alberni for best practices in international literacy.

Charmead Schella from Literacy Alberni accepts an award from John Y. Cole at the Library of Congress Literacy Awards in Washington

The American Library of Congress has recognized Literacy Alberni for best practices in international literacy.

Literacy Alberni Society (LAS) executive director Charmead Schella travelled to Washington, DC at the end of October to receive the award.

“It’s very  heartening for our organization to be recognized on such a prestigious international level,” Schella said.

“We are among incredibly successful and decorated literacy bodies.”

Literacy Alberni was the only Canadian organization to receive recognition, Schella said. “There are 17 organizations internationally who were recognized for exemplary exercising of best practices in literacy, and three that were chosen for cash prizes,” she said.

“We were in the pool of 17 chosen from 90 contenders internationally.”

Aside from several American organizations, those recognized came from South Africa, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Spain, the Dominican Republic, England and Germany.

“I think it’s encouraging,” she said. “It’s something to look on in those many times of darkness, when you wonder if you’re working in a vacuum…you realize you’re doing good, valuable, necessary work.”

Schella joined a panel of other literacy directors in giving a presentation on Literacy Alberni’s achievements. She met Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, whose father was Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th president of the United States, and who sits on the Library of Congress board.

“She said she was a huge advocate for our submission,” Schella said. “She said ours stood out because of the clear dedication and efforts we’re making in such a small town.”

LAS board chair Pam Craig said she is proud of the work Literacy Alberni does in this community.

“The international recognition of this award is so valuable to our organization’s credibility,” Literacy Alberni chair Pam Craig said.

“We are so proud of the work we do at LAS and so proud of Char for her great grant application and presentation to the assembly at the awards presentations.”

Congratulations also came from Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser, who spoke about the award in the provincial Legislature earlier this month.

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