(Camden, NJ) – The Camden County Library System is offering basic literacy for English speakers and English as a second language (ESL) classes at the at the Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez Downtown Branch located on the Rutgers-Camden campus.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for residents who are eager to learn,” said Freeholder Bill Moen, liaison to the Camden County Library System. “More than 40 percent of Camden City’s 77,000 residents are living in poverty attributed to their lack of education. The Freeholder Board is committed to seeing this change in our community, and believes we must rise to the challenge of improving literacy for our residents.”
An orientation session for reading classes will be hold on September 14 at 5 p.m. The orientation for ESL classes will be held on September 16 at 10:30 a.m. Classes are held once a week and participants are grouped by ability level. Reading classes are offered on Thursday evenings. English classes are held on Monday evenings and Saturday mornings. Space is limited and registration is required.
“It is imperative that anyone who wants to learn how to read be given the opportunity and help to do so,” Moen said. “This service is invaluable and can be a matter of raising the standard of living for residents providing them a lighthouse into new opportunities.”
Illiteracy is not a problem that only poor countries face. Reasons why illiteracy exists are often not limited to a lack of educational resources, but include social and cultural triggers that prevent vulnerable people from acquiring indispensable life skills. According to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the United States cannot read.
“One of our goals is to make positive changes in the communities we serve through programs like these free reading classes at the Cruz-Perez Downtown Branch,” said Linda Devlin, Director of the Camden County Library System. “Our library is committed to improving literacy skills and providing residents with opportunities to advance their education.”
Residents lacking functional English literacy skills are often impeded in their ability to get jobs, assist their children in school and become more active members of their community.
For more information on the program, prospective students may visit the branch located at 301 North 5th Street in Camden, or call the branch at (856) 225-6807.