Press contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

January 24, 2013

Applications Being Accepted for New Library of Congress Literacy Awards

April 15 Is Deadline for Awards Totaling $250,000

Applications are now being accepted for the new Library of Congress Literacy Awards, which are made possible through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein.

The application rules and a downloadable application form may be accessed at Applications must be received no later than midnight on April 15, 2013.

These awards will be conferred for the first time in October 2013 to recognize and support outstanding achievements in the field of literacy, both in the United States and abroad.

Three prizes will be awarded annually:

  • The David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000), for a groundbreaking or sustained record of advancement of literacy by any individual or entity worldwide;
  • The American Prize ($50,000), for a project developed and implemented successfully during the past decade for combating illiteracy and/or aliteracy;
  • The International Prize ($50,000), for the work of an individual, nation or nongovernmental organization working in a specific country or region.

"The Library of Congress’s mission to ‘further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people’ is inextricably linked to the nation’s literacy rates," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Thanks to the generosity of David Rubenstein, the Library is able to formally acknowledge those individuals and organizations making a difference in the United States and around the world in increasing literacy."

David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, is a major donor to the Library of Congress, including its annual National Book Festival.

"Literacy spurs innovation and creativity," said Rubenstein. "Literacy is one of the basic tools for making progress in life and can open doors to many joys and wonders. I am pleased to support the work of groups that help people become literate and successfully convince those who can read to read more."

The literacy awards program is administered by the Library’s Center for the Book. Final selection of prizewinners will be made by the Librarian of Congress, who will solicit recommendations from literacy experts on an advisory board.

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading- promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 151 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

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PR 13-019
ISSN 0731-3527

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