Wyoming Reads Recognized with National Award for Literacy

John Jorgensen and Wyoming Reads have been awarded the Library of Congress State Literacy Award, along with 9 other recipients from across the country. The Library of Congress State Literacy Awards Program recognizes organizations or programs that have made outstanding contributions to promoting literacy and/or reading in a state or local community.

The Learning and Innovation Office, a division of the Center for Learning, Literacy and Engagement at the Library of Congress, announced the winners of the 2020 State Literacy Awards last month. Wyoming Reads, which was nominated by the Wyoming Center for the Book out of Cheyenne, will receive an award of $2,225 to put towards literacy efforts for our state’s first graders.

John Jorgensen established the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation and the Wyoming Reads celebration to honor his late wife’s commitment to literacy and books. Since its inception in 1996, Wyoming Reads has grown beyond just Casper and Natrona County to supply books to first graders in all of Wyoming’s 23 counties, as well as several other states, including Oregon and Minnesota. Over 100,000 children have received books through the combined literacy celebrations, reaching nearly 7,500 first graders in 2019 alone.

2020’s Wyoming Reads Day will look a little different than past years. As with so many other special events in our world at this time, Wyoming Reads recently made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s literacy celebration until the fall of 2020 in hopes that the children will be back in school by then.

In Natrona County, the plan is to hold the event at the usual locations and bring the second graders back for their celebration of reading. Once things return to a more normal footing, Jorgensen and the other Wyoming Reads coordinators will be working with the local school districts to select a specific date to hold Wyoming Reads Day.

The Library of Congress State Literacy Awards Program is made possible through the generous support of David M. Rubenstein. To see the complete list of this year’s winners, visit www.read.gov/literacyawards/state-2020.html.