One in six adults in Tulsa County cannot read the prescription label on a medicine bottle, understand a newspaper article, or enter complete information on an application.
The mission of the Ruth G. Hardman Adult Literacy Services is to promote literacy through adult basic and English language instruction. Learn more about the Tulsa City County Library’s literacy efforts by exploring the following links.
The Ruth G. Hardman Adult Literacy Service office is located at 2901 S. Harvard.
Office hours: M - F, 9am - 5pm
Volunteers are trained to teach adult learners who want to improve their reading and/or English skills. The volunteers attend a 10-hour training workshop and commit to work in the program for one year. Tutors are then matched with an adult learner and they work together at least once week for one hour at a public place that is mutually convenient (usually a library.)
The library's adult literacy effort began in 1977 as the only Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA) affiliate west of the Mississippi River. It was staffed by a librarian who volunteered 10 hours per week to the literacy service. During the 1980s an increasing amount of media and public attention focused on the problem of illiteracy. In 1990 the library hired a full-time literacy coordinator. The program was renamed in honor of benefactor Ruth G. Hardman in 1993.
Today, the program matches approximately 150 students with approximately 120 volunteer tutors. In all, more than 3,000 adult students have improved their reading skills through our services.
Tulsa's program is an affiliate of ProLiteracy America. As an affiliate, Tulsa’s program uses ProLiteracy America teaching materials to develop lesson plans to meet the individual needs of each adult learner and their tutor.
The literacy service provides basic literacy and English language instruction to young adults (16+) and adults who read at or below a sixth-grade level. English language learners must speak enough conversational English to be matched to an English speaking tutor, and basic literacy learners must be able to help us complete the initial assessment form. We will do our best to provide referrals to appropriate programs for those students who do not qualify for our progam.
Every student who requests a tutor must complete an intake interview which includes a reading assessment and background information (helpful in matching volunteers with learners). New students then complete a student orientation session before being matched to a tutor.
The growth of the library's adult literacy service is a direct result of the following community participation:
More than 200 individuals volunteer their time as tutors, trainers, interviewers, and office staff.
The George Kaiser Family Foundation provides contributions for the ESL portion of our program.
The library’s literacy service also partners with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition, and the Learning Disabilities Association of Oklahoma.
Literacy projects and programs are sponsored by