Press Release

Literacy Program to Launch in Libraries in Chicago and Central Illinois Beginning September 2013

CHICAGO, IL- May 8, 2013— The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) has announced a new humanities-based family literacy program that it will be producing at four public libraries in Illinois starting this fall.

Prime Time Family Reading Time® will be a six-week program designed to bring underserved, low-income families into public libraries and to participate in a unique, humanities-focused, storytelling experience. Two Chicago Public Library branches will host Prime Time in the fall: The Rudy Lozano Branch in the Pilsen neighborhood and Carter G. Woodson Regional in the South Side Washington Heights neighborhood. The Bloomington Public Library and Peoria Public Library’s Lincoln Branch, both in Central Illinois, will host the program beginning in spring 2014.

Sessions consist of a storyteller presenting an award-winning children’s book; after which, a humanities scholar facilitates discussion by asking open-ended questions about important themes presented by the texts. Each week of the series, participants will be able to take home books from the Prime Time syllabus to practice this model as a family. Sessions will be in English, while the Lozano Branch will be in a bilingual format.

“This program really does so much with something as simple as children’s books,” says Anna Burch, one of the program’s coordinators at the IHC. “Prime Time teaches parents and kids how to raise important humanistic questions from even the “simplest” of texts, engage in productive discussions, and learn more about each other in the process. We hope it gives a new significance to story-time.”

Three of the four humanities scholars for each of these locations have connections with the IHC. At Lozano, the scholar will be Juana Goergen, Literature Professor at DePaul University, and at Woodson it will be Audrey Petty, Creative Writing Professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Both Juana and Audrey are also affiliated with another program of the IHC, the Odyssey Project. Nancy Tolson, English and Women’s Studies Professor at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal and the scholar in Peoria, is part of the IHC’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau program. Michael Theune, English Professor at Illinois Wesleyan, will be the scholar at Bloomington Public Library.

Below are the locations and dates that the program will be presented in Illinois:

  • Chicago Public Library, Lozano Branch, 1805 S. Loomis St., Chicago (Bilingual series): September 24- November 5, 2013
  • Chicago Public Library, Carter G. Woodson Regional, 9525 S. Halsted St., Chicago: March 2- April 6, 2014
  • Bloomington Public Library, 205 E. Olive St., Bloomington: March 12-April 16, 2014
  • Peoria Public Library, Lincoln Branch, 1312 W. Lincoln Ave., Peoria: April 14- May 19, 2014

Visit the Illinois Humanities Council’s website at for additional information about Prime Time. PRIME TIME FAMILY READING TIME® was created by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. National expansion to Illinois is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a cooperative endeavor with the ALA Public Programs Office.

About the Illinois Humanities Council

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233

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