Howard County Library System
Howard County Library System Project Literacy

HCLS Project Literacy, a highly successful adult basic education initiative, is made possible by grant funding from the Maryland State Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. HCLS Instructors and volunteer tutors have taught 7,500 adults since 1987. Representing 35 countries, students learn basic math, reading and writing skills through free, one-on-one tutoring and class sessions. One hundred fifty-seven students have received their high school diplomas, and 136 have become U.S. citizens.

Friends Make It Happen

View photos from the moving ceremony honoring HCLS Project Literacy students who have completed requirements for the External High School Diploma Program and attained U.S. Citizenship.

Who qualifies for HCLS Project Literacy?
Any adult who lives or works in Howard County, who is not currently enrolled in a formal K-12 program, and who does not have a high school diploma or equivalent is eligible. Our teaching environment comprises two levels: one-on-one instruction and small group instruction.

More than half the students enrolled in group instruction are Spanish speaking adult family members of children in the Howard County Public School System. These students attend classes at designated locations, where free child care is provided.

What is the cost of tuition for students?
Student tuition is paid through federal grant funding and generous donations made each year to Howard County Library for the continuation of HCLS Project Literacy.

Who teaches HCLS Project Literacy students?
Howard County Library System instructors and volunteer tutors teach students. Library instructors train volunteer tutors and supervise them throughout their assignment. Volunteer tutors are asked to work two to four hours per week with an assigned student and make a commitment of at least six months.

Last year, volunteers and teachers provided 11,000 hours of tutoring to 405 students -- 109 students in the tutorial component and 296 students in the ESL track.

How often are students tutored?
Students receiving one-on-one instruction study with their tutor two to four hours per week. Students participating in the small-group sessions attend classes twice a week, for a total of six hours.

Where do students and tutors meet?
Tutors hold one-on-one sessions at HCLS's Central Branch. Students and tutors arrange mutually convenient times. While most tutoring occurs during the day, evening sessions are available. Group instruction classes meet in various locations.

How can I learn more?
Emma Ostendorp
Adult Literacy Coordinator
Howard County Library System
Central Branch
10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy
Columbia, MD 21044
Phone: 410-313-7900