News | March 28, 2013

Board Members Named for Library of Congress Literacy Awards

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has named a group of distinguished men and women in the field of literacy to serve on the advisory board for the new Library of Congress Literacy Awards.

These awards will be conferred for the first time in fall 2013 to recognize and support outstanding achievements in the field of literacy, both in the United States and abroad. The awards are made possible through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein.

The application rules and a downloadable application form may be accessed at Applications must be received no later than midnight on April 15, 2013.

Three prizes will be awarded annually:

?? The David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000), for a groundbreaking or sustained record of advancement of literacy by any individual or entity worldwide

?? The American Prize ($50,000), for a project developed and implemented successfully during the past decade for combating illiteracy and/or aliteracy

?? The International Prize ($50,000), for the work of an individual, nation or nongovernmental organization working in a specific country or region

Mrs. Laura Bush, founder of the Texas Book Festival in 1995 and co-founder with Billington of the Library of Congress National Book Festival in 2001, is the honorary chair of the advisory board. The former first lady is a librarian as well as a literacy and reading advocate who focused much of her attention on education while she was in the White House.

Members of the Advisory Board Library of Congress Literacy Awards

Laura L. Bailet, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Nemours BrightStart!

Assistant Professor, Mayo College of Medicine

David Baldacci
No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of books for adults and children
2011 inductee, International Crime Writing Hall of Fame
2012 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award
Founder (with wife Michelle), Wish You Well Foundation for family and adult literacy
Reading and literacy advocate

Cynthia Hearn Dorfman
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Office of Communications and Outreach
U.S. Department of Education

Leslie S.J. Farmer
Professor, College of Education, California State University
Standing Committee on Literacy and Reading, International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)

Susan Hildreth
Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services
Former City Librarian, Seattle Public Library and California State Librarian

Caroline Kennedy
Honorary Chair, 2013 National Library Week
Honorary Director, Fund for Public Schools of New York City

Steven Koltai
Managing Director, Koltai & Company LLC
Former Chairman, Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles

Karen Lotz
President and Publisher, Candlewick Press
Group Managing Director, Walker Books Limited

Pamela A. Mason, Ed.D.
Director, Language and Literacy Program
Jeanne Chall Reading Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Elaine Ng
Chief Executive Officer, National Library Board of Singapore

James Patterson
No. 1 New York Times best-selling author for adults and children
Children’s Choice Author of the Year Award Winner (2010)
Founder,, the winner of the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize 2009
Founding partner, Children’s Reading Fund (UK)
Reading and literacy advocate

Karen M. Ristau, Ed.D.
President, National Catholic Educational Association

Lynda Bird Johnson Robb
Reading Is Fundamental Inc.: founding member, former chair and board of directors (1968-2013)
President, The National Home Library Foundation

Richard Robinson
CEO/President/Chairman, Scholastic Inc.

Loriene Roy, Ph.D.
Professor, School of Information, University of Texas at Austin
Former Chair, International Relations Round Table, American Library Association

Carol Seiler, Commissioner, MPH, MN
Coordinator for Strategic Mission Planning
The Salvation Army, USA Central Territory

Benita Somerfield
Former Executive Director, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy (1989-2012)
Member, Governing Board, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
U.S. Representative to the United Nations Literacy Decade (2002-2012)

Michael Trucano
Senior Specialist in educational policy and information and communications technology
Human Development Network, The World Bank

Robert Wedgeworth
Former President, ProLiteracy Worldwide
Former President, International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)

Maryanne Wolf
Professor of Child Development
Center for Reading and Language Research, Tufts University
Author, "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain"

The literacy awards program is administered by the Library’s Center for the Book. Final selection of prize winners will be made by the Librarian of Congress, who will draw on recommendations from the advisory board.

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center and the Poetry and Literature Center.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at