The Queens Public Library Adult Learning Center's role in providing literacy services to adult populations

Alice Annmarie Robinson, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to describe the role an Adult Learning Center played in helping adults to acquire literacy and to identify the strategies used to instruct adult non-readers. Participants consisted of nine adults who attended an Adult Learning Center, four volunteer tutors, and four professional staff members. The Adult Learning Center is located in Central Jamaica in the Borough of Queens, New York. It is situated in close proximity to the Central branch of the Queens Public Library. Methodology used to collect data consisted of interview questions, observations, and an examination of archival documents. The findings of the study are: (1) Adult learners expressed that being literate was a very important requirement in today's society. Although they could not relive their childhood, they were willing to find ways to improve their literacy skills. (2) Adult learners appreciated the knowledge, sensitivity, and motivation of the professional staff and volunteer tutors. This sense of gratitude was evident in their writings and in their frequent attendance at the Adult Learning Center. (3) Attitudes, personalities, and a variety of learning strategies contributed greatly to learners' successes. The findings of the study revealed that adult non-readers should be taught in a manner that respects their prior knowledge, that values their opinions, and moreover, the materials used should be relevant to their status as adults. By providing a more specialized and private environment in libraries and learning centers, administrators can increase adults' motivation to improve their literacy skills and, by inference, their use of the library and their full participation in society.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Curricula|Teaching|Library science

Recommended Citation

Robinson, Alice Annmarie, "The Queens Public Library Adult Learning Center's role in providing literacy services to adult populations" (2000). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9975365.