Learn about our Community Partner for The Eagle in Me

For The Eagle in Me: An Evening of Carl Sandburg, In Tandem Theatre is pleased to partner with Literacy Services of Wisconsin (LSW) to collect new and gently used books throughout the run of the show. Last year, we raised nearly 1,000 books for LSW. This year, our goal is to raise 1,500 books! Books for all ages are welcome but please no encyclopedias, magazines or Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.

Although we may be raising books for this organization, you may be wondering what LSW is and what do they do with the books that are donated. We sat down with the Executive Director of LSW, Holly McCoy, to answer your questions and learn more about this organization.

Q: What is Literacy Services of Wisconsin and what does it do?

Literacy Services of Wisconsin partners with motivated adults to provide access to quality basic education and skills training so they can improve their lives, enrich their families, and strengthen our community. Adults face obstacles when they lack basic knowledge, education credentials, and English language skills. Access to education and training breaks down barriers and opens opportunities to provide for themselves and their families.

Q: When was Literacy Services founded?

Literacy Services was founded in 1965. It was sparked by the “Each One, Teach One” concept that was championed by Dr. Frank Laubach’s revolutionary literacy initiative. The idea truly captured the imagination of a small but mighty group of people who brought it to life here and around the state. We are humbled to be a part of the literacy movement that spread around the globe, and we are honored to be able to help it thrive here in Wisconsin. Our grassroots, community-built organization is a case study in American ingenuity and the power of the human spirit.

Q: What programs/classes do you offer?

We believe that every adult student is unique. We offer many different programs to align with the goals of our students. Our comprehensive programming allows students to excel in an environment that meets them at their level. Programs include: Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, English language learning, workforce development instruction, High School Equivalency Diploma, & digital literacy.

Q: What do you do with the books that are donated through book drives?

Donated books benefit our agency in a variety of ways. We first examine books to see if we can use them directly in the classroom. We raise funds by selling books online through our partnership with Sharehouse Goods. The remaining books are re-circulated back into the community. There are shelves of free books at our locations for any of our guests to take home. We also host book giveaway events that raise awareness for our mission. We even attempt to extend the life of damaged books by utilizing them in crafty ways at fundraising events.

Q: What do you like best about working at Literacy Services?

I love working at LSW. Our team is leading the way in the adult literacy space in Milwaukee and they bring their passion and commitment to our students every day. Our volunteers dedicate so much of their time, knowledge, and talents to ensure that students receive individual attention and the organization is making a needed difference in our city. Our students – the reason we do this work – are everything. Students are a constant reminder of why our mission matters and how transformative education can be.

Q: How many volunteers and students do you have at Literacy Services?

We have over 450 volunteers! (Which is beyond amazing!) Last year, we served 1,336 students at eight program sites throughout Milwaukee.

Q: What are some ways to volunteer at Literacy Services?

Literacy Services has many volunteer opportunities. We are always looking for volunteer tutors to work one-on-one with students looking to improve their reading, writing, numeracy or English language skills. There are so many other ways to get involved and volunteer. Visit: https://literacyservices.org/volunteer/to learn more!