UNC, NCCU to host summit to close literacy gap for young black males

Closing the literacy achievement gap between young black males and other students will be the focus of a spring summit convened by UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University.

UNC’s School of Information and Library Science and NCCU’s School of Library and Information Sciences will hold the three-day event, “Building a Bridge to Literacy for African-American Male Youth: A Call to Action for the Library Community.” The summit will be in Chapel Hill in spring 2012.

Educators, scholars, researchers, members of national organizations that address the needs of black youth and black youth themselves will be among those debating the issue, identifying helpful resources that already exist, new ones that are needed and how school and public libraries might be able to help.

A $99,074 grant from the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services, which will fund the summit, was awarded to Sandra Hughes-Hassell, a professor in the UNC school. The summit will help to continue her research.

“Including the voices of black youth themselves will be critical to our conversation, so part of the funding will be used to bring in a group of teens from local schools to participate,” Hughes-Hassell said.

Irene Owens, Ph.D., dean of the NCCU school, 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 sciences programs, and we look forward to addressing this important challenge to our society together.”

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