Urban Libraries Council Recognizes San Francisco Public Library for Library Innovation

For Immediate Release:  September 10, 2018
Media Contact: Mindy Linetzky
(415) 557-4252; Mindy.Linetzky@sfpl.org

Urban Libraries Council Recognizes San Francisco Public Library for Library Innovation

FOG Readers Demonstrates the Irreplaceability of the Library as a Community Institution

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Urban Libraries Council announced San Francisco Public Library as one of 10 Top Innovators during the 2018 ULC Annual Forum on September 5-7 in Baltimore, MD. A panel of expert judges selected SFPL’s “FOG Readers: Helping Struggling Readers Succeed” from 220 submissions in 10 categories that demonstrate the value and impact of public library service. The San Francisco Public Library won the Top Innovator award in the category of “Education: Birth through Teens.”

The 2018 Top Innovators and Honorable Mentions were announced during a special Innovations Celebration. Award winners were recognized for their innovative programs, services and operating practices. “Today’s public libraries are bold and pioneering community leaders that play many roles, from educational institutions to technology centers and entrepreneurial hubs,” said Urban Libraries Council President and CEO Susan Benton. “I congratulate San Francisco Public Library for illustrating a persistent commitment to realizing a groundbreaking initiative that has transformed their community.”

San Francisco’s Top Innovator awardee, FOG Readers, helps elementary students overcome reading difficulties, using Orton-Gillingham methodology and multisensory techniques. The free program bridges a gap between a child’s current reading level and his or her full reading potential. FOG Readers breaks reading and spelling into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and builds on these skills over time.

Half of SFUSD 3rd and 4th graders are not meeting grade level standards for reading. In San Francisco, intervention costs $65-95/hr. For many students, FOG Readers is their best chance to build the skills they need to succeed. On average, the Library’s students are about 1.3 grade levels behind when they start the program, and gain more than half a grade level just in the first three months. Parents say FOG students are reading more at home and have increased confidence in all of their school subjects.

Tutors meet with students once a week at a library, teaching critical reading skills and enjoying books together. Currently there are 120 active tutor/student pairs at 23 of our 28 neighborhood libraries. The library trains and pairs tutors with students and we’re always looking for new volunteers.

“San Francisco Public Library is committed to excellence in the delivery of innovative programs and services to meet the needs of our residents,” said Acting City Librarian Michael Lambert. “Recognition from the Urban Libraries Council is a tremendous honor for the City and County of San Francisco and a testament to our staff’s passion for helping young people overcome their struggles with reading in order to enrich themselves and thrive.”

For more information about FOG Readers and volunteer tutor opportunities, see the webpage.

About San Francisco Public Library

San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center and four bookmobiles. For more information, see www.sfpl.org.

About Urban Libraries Council

Urban Libraries Council (ULC), founded in 1971, is the voice for public libraries and the force that inspires them to evolve. ULC creates the tools, techniques, and ideas to make ongoing improvements and upgrades in services and technology. ULC also speaks loudly and clearly about the value public libraries bring to communities, and secures funding for research that results in the development of new programs and services. And by serving as a forum for library leadership, ULC produces innovative ideas and best practices that ensure community impact. To learn more about ULC and to view all the 2018 ULC Innovations, see www.UrbanLibraries.org.