IMLS & OCTAE encourage collaboration to complement & extend adult education

Hi all,

A Dear Colleague letter came out June 23, 2014 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and OCTAE describing their work to increase "encourage effective collaborations between libraries and federally funded adult education programs" with the goal "to enhance the skills, employability, and quality of life of youths and adults with low skills." 

IMLS and OCTAE are asking public libraries, state and local adult education agencies, and literacy providers to work together to complement and extend the adult education and English literacy services available through adult education programs for youths and adults. Some example of this work are listed below.  Are there ways you have seen adult education programs and local libraries work effectively together, particularly to support access to technology?  After reading the lists below, do you have other suggestions for work that adult education programs and local libraries could do together?



Working Together
At the State and Local Levels
Many states and local communities are already reaping the benefits of partnerships between public libraries and adult education programs. The examples at the end of this document highlight several model projects that feature partnerships. Some formal and informal partnership activities include
  • Signed memorandums of understanding or other formal agreements
  • Co-location of literacy services with adult education programs and libraries
  • collaborations to cross-train staff on digital literacy and other shared challenges as well as to share resources
  • Collaborations to build awareness about national and regional Internet access expansion efforts, such as Everyone On
  • Referrals to and promotion of partners’ services for patrons and students
At the National Level
OCTAE and IMLS Current and Planned Activities 
As part of this federal effort, sharing of resources, training of staff, and dissemination of information about adult education-library partnerships are both planned and under way. Such activities include
  • Maintaining, updating, and/or promoting shared locator tools, such as America’s Literacy Directory at and the Digital Literacy Training Locator Tool at
  • Sharing and promoting opportunities to access low-cost Internet connections and devices, such as Everyone On and Connected Nation
  • Developing and promoting self-paced, self-access training for library staff and volunteers to improve their effectiveness in helping patrons gain digital literacy
  • Increasing awareness among library staff and tutors about professional development resources and training available on the teaching of foundation skills to youths and adults through and the LINCS Regional Professional Development Centers
  • Developing literacy tutorials and handy guides to resources developed by OCTAE
  • Promoting in-person and online adult education and English literacy resources available through the public adult education system via appropriate websites, newsletters, conferences, and other means
  • Collaborating with the National Governors Association, National Council of State Directors of Adult Education, National Coalition for Literacy, American Library Association, Public Library Association, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, Urban Libraries Council, and the Association of Rural and Small Libraries to identify and disseminate examples of partnership activities at the state and local levels among the public adult education system and libraries
  • Presenting and archiving webinars for the adult education system and libraries to share examples of partnership activities, and making resources and information on state and local partnerships available on OCTAE’s professional development portal at 
  • Including shared interests in research and technical assistance projects