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Gift Funds New Library of Congress Literacy Awards

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The first International Summit of the Book, which took place Dec. 6-7 in Washington, D.C., opened with big news for libraries and literacy: the announcement of a new Library of Congress Literacy Awards program. David Rubenstein, a Maryland-based private equity executive and philanthropist, has donated $1.5 million in support of three awards honoring contributions to literacy and literacy instruction. The prizes—the David M. Rubenstein Prize, the American Prize, and the International Prize—amount to $300,000 awarded annually.

Rubenstein's address to the Summit cited aliteracy--an unwillingness to read or lack of interest in reading despite the ability to do so--as a problem of equal gravity to illiteracy. The American Prize will recognize projects that combat aliteracy and cultivate readers who are not only capable but also engaged and enthusiastic. The second International Summit of the Book will take place August 16, 2013, in Singapore. Winners of the first round of Literacy Awards will be announced then.

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