This $85K grant will help boost literacy efforts throughout Memphis

What’s happening: Literacy efforts led by the Memphis Library Foundation received a significant boost earlier this month by way of an $85,000 grant from the International Paper Foundation. This is the third consecutive year that the Memphis Library Foundation has received a literacy grant from the IPF.

What it does: The $85,000 literacy grant will support the Memphis Library Foundation in expanding its literacy efforts throughout Memphis, further developing youth and childhood development programs and learning resources at each of its 18 local library branches.

Why it’s important: “The Memphis Public Libraries are a driver in creating fresh ideas and programs that continue drawing in the public, and much of this progress in recent years is due to International Paper’s support,” says Christine Weinreich, executive director of the Memphis Library Foundation. “The Foundation works with the library system year-round to explore new, innovative ways to reach Memphis youth and keep them engaged in learning outside of the classroom. International Paper’s generosity over the years has helped us think bigger and has led to a 61 percent increase in youth literacy program attendance from 2021 to 2022. We couldn’t have accomplished this feat without their support!”

About those programs: There are three primary programs that will benefit from this specific grant. They include the establishment of a new Teen Innovation Center (TIC) at the current Frayser branch, a designated space within the library that will encourage literacy, technology, and social activities. Previous IPF grants, as well as other sources, helped fund the opening of 12 TICs since 2019, and a 2022 IPF grant helped open four more.

The 2023 IPF grant will support the Explore Memphis program, which will provide free books at each of the 18 Memphis Library branches, as well as interactive events and incentives that encourage reading and learning outside the classroom. The 2023 IPF grant will also support updates and new resources for each of the 14 DiscoverREAD centers across the library network, and expand offerings to children older than age 5.

What they’re saying: “Education is one of International Paper’s Signature Causes, and the root of quality education is literacy,” says Rachel Ozols Purdom, Community Engagement Coordinator for International Paper. “Libraries are a critical resource in any community. We commend the work of the Memphis Library Foundation and Memphis Public Libraries, and their efforts to bring inclusive programming and offerings that not only further child and teen literacy, but also inspire the next generation in the Memphis community.”

Visit the Memphis Public Libraries online to learn more about their literacy efforts.
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