American Library Association Receives $1 Million Grant From Verizon Foundation to Study How Gaming Can Be Used to Improve Problem-Solving and Literacy Skills

ANAHEIM, CALIF. - The American Library Association (ALA) will launch an innovative project to track and measure the impact of gaming on literacy skills and build a model for library gaming that can be deployed nationally.  Funding for the project will be provided by a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation.

The announcement will take place today at the American Library Association Annual Conference here.

"Gaming is a magnet that attracts library users of all types and, beyond its entertainment value, has proven to be a powerful tool for literacy and learning," said ALA President Loriene Roy. "Through the Verizon Foundation's gift, ALA's gaming for learning project will provide the library community with vital information and resources that will model and help sustain effective gaming programs and services."

As part of the grant, the American Library Association will work directly with 12 leading gaming experts to document the use of gaming as a literacy tool and monitor the results of gaming initiatives. The information will be used to build The Librarians' Guide to Gaming, a comprehensive, online literacy and gaming toolbox that will then be field-tested by additional libraries. 

The experts creating the best practices during the initial phase are from the following libraries: Ann Arbor District Library, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio; Georgetown County Library, Georgetown, S.C.; Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis, Minn.; Old Bridge Public Library, Fords, N.J.; Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Ariz.; Reidland High School, Paducah, Ky.; School Library System of Genesee Valley BOCES, Le Roy, N.Y.; The New York Public Library, New York; Todd Wehr Library, De Pere, Wis.; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.

"In today's technology-driven world, where learning does not stop at the classroom, the role of libraries in supporting literacy and learning is more critical than ever before," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "Gaming for learning presents a tremendous opportunity for libraries to further literacy skills in children as well as adults." 

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

The ALA Annual Conference is the largest library gathering in the world, with more than 2,000 meetings, discussion groups, special events, tours and programs on various topics affecting libraries and librarians. For more information on the conference, visit www.ala.org/annual.   

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 65,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information. For more information on the American Library Association please visit www.ala.org

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 67 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com