Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell Receives Grant for African-American Youth Literacy Summit

October 19, 2011

Dr. Sandra Hughes HassellCHAPEL HILL - The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell a $99,074 National Leadership grant to plan a summit addressing literacy in young African-American males. The summit, to be hosted jointly by the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and the School of Library and Information Science at North Carolina Central University, will be titled “Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Call to Action for the Library Community.”

According to the IMLS Web site, “The summit will unite national stakeholders, including members of the library and education community, researchers, educational policy makers, national organizations focused on the needs of African-American youth, publishers and young black males, to focus on the role of school and public libraries in closing the literacy achievement gap of African-American male youth.” 

The two and a half-day summit will focus on three areas related to the central theme:

  • Research pertaining to the development and needs of literacy in African-American male youth
  • What programs and services currently support their literacy needs and what gaps need to be filled
  • The kind of resources that are needed to enable school and public libraries to address literacy development and needs

Interactivity and expanded dialogue will characterize the output of the summit. In addition to preparing a white paper, summit organizers will create a Web site with information created during the summit and a prominent blog feature, allowing visitors to participate in the conversation. The project team will also lead a national webinar based on the summit’s findings. 

“The summit will provide a forum for a diverse group of stakeholders from across the country to explore the complex processes and issues involved in closing the achievement gap for African American male youth," said Dr. Sandra Hughes Hassell, SILS professor. "Including the voices of Black youth themselves will be critical to our conversation, so a portion of the funding will be used to bring not only researchers and practitioners who have partnered with Black male youth in their research and programming efforts, but to also invite a group of teens from local schools to participate. We believe their experiences will better inform our efforts."

Irene Owens, SILS distinguished alumna, Ph.D. and dean of SLIS at NCCU, said "This will not be a one-shot program. An essential goal of the conference is to establish a means of sustaining the initiative. We have a magnificent partnership between two library and information science prgorams, and we look forward to addressing this important challenge to our society together."