FAQ Illinois State Library

How many people in Illinois have difficulty reading?
The American Community Survey indicates that nearly 491,000 of Illinois residents over the age of 25 have less than a ninth grade education. Another 633,000 residents have between a 9th and 12th grade education, but have no high school diploma. That means there are 1.1 million people who do not have a high school diploma. In addition, 1.1 million residents speak a language other than English and report that they speak English less than very well. Conservatively, roughly 2.2 million or 18% of the residents in Illinois have difficulty performing reading or math tasks or using printed or verbal information in English. Source: American Community Survey, 2007-2011, http://factfinder2.census.gov.

How do I become a volunteer?
The Illinois Adult Learning Hotline, a program of the Illinois State Library Literacy Office, links volunteers and potential students with programs. Call 800−321−9511 or complete the form at http://www.thecenterweb.org/alrc/hotline/index.html.

Where are the grant programs located in my area?
Every fiscal year, the Literacy Office produces a Guide to the Secretary of State Literacy Effort, which lists funded programs. To obtain a hard copy or multiple copies, please call 217−524−3005 or email dmanning@ilsos.net.

How do I obtain a grant application?
Applications are available each year for agencies within Illinois. Grant applications are available via the Literacy Office website.

How do I start a volunteer literacy program?
The Literacy Office publishes the How to Start an Adult Volunteer Literacy Program booklet, which contains information on training and recruiting volunteers, determining need in your community, finance and budget, staffing and many more topics.

How can I or my company support literacy programs?
Local literacy programs need both financial and in-kind support from individuals and corporations. Programs may have different needs. Call the Illinois Adult Learning Hotline at 800−321−9511 to locate a local program.