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Asia Foundation Celebrated as 2017 Library of Congress ‘Program Best Practice Honoree’

Washington, DC, November 30, 2017 — The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program was honored as a 2017 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program Best Practice Honoree at a November 27 event at the Library’s historic Thomas Jefferson Building. Following on the awards announcement in September, the celebration event featured leaders representing organizations from around the world sharing literacy efforts that serve millions of people. Director of Books for Asia Melody Zavala accepted the award on behalf of the international non-profit organization for its innovations in the “implementation of best practices in literacy promotion.”

From left to right: Washington D.C. office Associate Director Anna Bantug-Herrera, Astronaut Leland Melvin, Vice President Nancy Yuan, Books for Asia Director Melody Zavala

The Asia Foundation’s longest-running program, Books for Asia, puts brand-new books and digital content into the hands of students, educators, and leaders in 20 countries in Asia. Through technology initiatives and book donations, Books for Asia provides high-quality books to over 7,000 institutions, impacting more than 9 million people annually. Donations of brand new books from American publishers such as McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons, Penguin, Elsevier, W.W. Norton, Macmillan, Pearson Education, Abrams, Chronicle, Guilford Press, Harvard Business Publishing, Bellwether Media, Oxford University Press, Big Kid Science, and SAGE make this impact possible.

While print remains an effective means of delivering information in many parts of the developing world, e-books are fast becoming a cost-effective, scalable model given mobile technology’s increasing affordability. The Asia Foundation was selected for its “success in applying research-validated practices to promote literacy and serves as a valuable model for other organizations seeking to create evidence-based literacy programs.”

Ms. Zavala’s remarks highlighted The Asia Foundation’s programs that strive to reduce barriers relating to access to information: “There are not enough books in languages children speak at home and in school to inspire reading; and not enough demand from school systems and families to encourage publishers to move into children’s content. Our goal is to provide books, information, and skills that enable children and adults to develop to their full potential and to contribute to their community and country.” She continued: “Innovation for us is a never-ending pursuit to find ways to empower local communities to solve root problems of supply and demand for children’s books. We created the Let’s Read! digital initiative to connect publishers, readers and translators in a single community.”

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program honor organizations working to promote literacy and reading in the United States and worldwide.

Read more about the Foundation’s work

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Related locations: Washington DC
Related programs: Let's Read

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Eelynn Sim, Director, Strategy and Programs
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