Parnell Library offers adult literacy program
By MICHELLE ADAMS/Community columnist
A library is typically visited for book discovery and check out, research or for community gatherings. The Parnell Memorial Library in Montevallo takes seriously its efforts to not only library, but also a beacon of the arts and education.
In addition to its meeting rooms, theatre, gardens and art gallery, the Parnell Library boasts opportunities to better inform and educate its patrons. The Adult Literacy Program at Parnell Library directly impacts and improves the lives of patrons. In connection with the Literacy Council of Central Alabama, volunteer tutors are trained and made available to patrons to help in the improvement of reading skills as well as the teaching of English.
Despite the affluence and education of the majority of Shelby County’s citizens, around 7 percent of Shelby County adults remain functionally illiterate. The Parnell Library aims to help change that statistic.
“To be a functioning illiterate citizen is to read below a fifth-grade level,” Chairperson of the Parnell Library Literacy Program Elaine Hughes said. “Fortunately, we live in a community that pulls together to try to conquer illiteracy. We currently have 20 trained tutors who come from a variety of backgrounds, including retired teachers and professors, business executives and University of Montevallo personnel.”
Tutors are required to attend a half-day training workshop, and as part of their tutoring, work to individualize reading choices and reading strategies for each learner. Learner registration is confidential.
“The library is already a hive of activity where many citizens feel comfortable, so it made sense to provide such an opportunity for patrons in a location they were already visiting regularly,” Parnell Library Board Chairperson Jane Clayton said. “Montevallo is an educated community, and with the university’s presence, a town where education is an industry. To extend an opportunity for education to all of our citizens is an essential task for the community’s continued success.”
Tutoring drop-in sessions meet twice weekly, Tuesday mornings from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings from 6-8 p.m. English language classes are also offered at varying times throughout the year. Contact the Parnell Memorial Library at (205) 665-9207.