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Library of Congress Announces 2023 Literacy Awards on International Literacy Day

Release Date: 08 Sep 2023
The News Literacy Project

Library of Congress Announces 2023 Literacy Awards on International Literacy Day
Top Prizes Awarded to The News Literacy Project, Downtown Boxing Gym and Worldreader

Three organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading will be awarded the 2023 Library of Congress Literacy Awards, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today. Top prizes are being awarded to The News Literacy Project, Downtown Boxing Gym and Worldreader.

The Literacy Awards program, sponsored by David M. Rubenstein since 2013, honors organizations that provide exemplary, innovative and replicable strategies to combat illiteracy. For more than 10 years, the Library of Congress has recognized the urgent need to achieve universal literacy through the program.

"Literacy is a pathway to an individual’s happiness, health, and wellbeing,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The Library of Congress is proud to honor and celebrate the achievements of these extraordinary organizations, through the generosity of David M. Rubenstein, in their commitment to expanding literacy around the world.”

Prizes and Recipients

2023 David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000): The News Literacy Project, Washington, D.C.

Founded in 2008, the News Literacy Project advances the practice of news literacy throughout American society, creating better informed, more engaged and more empowered individuals. The organization’s expansive interpretation of literacy skills and its robust approach to helping individuals, including teachers, students and the general public, navigate and analyze media messages comes at a critical time. The News Literacy Project provides resources and programs to help students across the country develop media literacy skills, including fact-checking, source evaluation and media bias awareness. Through partnerships with schools, and more than 55,000 educators and journalists, they work to create a more informed and engaged citizenry. Their programs and resources are also available free to the public.

2023 American Prize ($50,000): Downtown Boxing Gym, Detroit, Michigan

Downtown Boxing Gym is a free, out-of-school time program based in Detroit, Michigan, that seeks to improve academic outcomes for high-need youth. Through its unique approach — mentoring and literacy intervention offered through a boxing gym — the organization improves young people’s motivation and confidence in reading. Downtown Boxing Gym builds strong relationships with its participants and their families through one-on-one intervention, tutoring, daily homework help, athletics and a customized enrichment curriculum. Books and program materials align with community interests, experiences, cultures and backgrounds. With a strong focus on building positive relationships with students, the organization maintains a culture of achievement. Students actively participate in academic goal setting, mentor their peers, advocate for themselves and have a voice in what they learn.

2023 International Prize ($50,000): Worldreader, Seattle, Washington

Worldreader provides mobile reading technology for advancing literacy to more than 21 million readers in numerous countries. Worldreader supports parents and caregivers, pre-school workers, school teachers and local partners with access to reading materials, training, impact data and continuous engagement support. These efforts build early childhood development and reading outcomes for children in under-resourced communities and also in conflict and crisis settings. Worldreader provides local and culturally relevant digital materials that address socio-emotional learning, gender sensitivity, and cultural and political awareness.

2023 Successful Practices Honorees ($5,000)

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards program honors 15 additional organizations for their implementation of highly successful practices in literacy programming. These honorees, recipients of $5,000 each, are:

  • Ako Aotearoa’s Manako Program, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Book Love Foundation, North Conway, New Hampshire
  • BookSpring, Austin, Texas
  • Building Tomorrow, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Compassion Books, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Dominican Literacy Center, Aurora, Aurora, Illinois
  • Get Lit – Words Ignite’s Uni(verse) Program, Los Angeles, California
  • An Open Book Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  • Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education (PAGE), Islamabad, Pakistan
  • PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools), London, United Kingdom
  • Queens Borough Public Library, Queens, New York
  • Rio Grande Valley Literacy Center, Pharr, Texas
  • Virginia Children’s Book Festival, Keysville, Virginia
  • WISE Zambia, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Yayasan Sulinama’s Collaboration with INOVASI, Ambon, Indonesia

Additional information on the awards and previous winners, as well as an interactive program map, are available at

David M. Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group. He is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and the chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council.

The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of "international days" to mark important aspects of human life and history, including International Literacy Day on Sept. 8. For more information on International Literacy Day, visit:

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Media Contact: Leah Knobel,    
Public Contact: Judith Lee, (202) 707-1415,

PR 23-077
ISSN 0731-3527

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