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A new name, a bigger mission

Posted January 15, 2019
By Rebekah Friedman, communications manager
Top photo: Cocky's Reading Express at the South Carolina Center for Community Literacy office on campus.


Since the South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy was founded, its efforts have grown to include everything from professional development for educators to community engagement for children. Now, a new name — and a new mission — will demonstrate just how much that scope has widened.

The South Carolina Center for Community Literacy — a name approved by USC’s board of trustees in December — will serve as a hub for research and resources across a spectrum of literacies – digital, media, information and more. The newly named center also hopes to offer more hands-on experiential learning opportunities for USC students.

“Improving South Carolina’s communities and preparing its students for success has always been our number one priority,” says Christine Shelek, executive director of SCCCL. “The new name reflects how we’ve evolved over the years, and it opens the door for us to do even more in terms of research and education.” 

As part of the name change, SCCCL — pronounced “skill” — will create a publicly accessible online portal where librarians, students, educators and other community stakeholders can access literacy-related data and resources. The center also hopes to provide a clinical environment for students in the School of Library and Information Science to conduct research and participate in outreach initiatives.

The changes are designed to establish the center as an authoritative resource among literacy advocates worldwide and offer a more robust education for students seeking real-world experience.

“Literacy today is about much more than just books,” says Dr. Tom Reichert, dean of the College of Information and Communications. “Our new name is much more representative of our multifaceted approach to promoting it, and it gives us substantial room for growth.”

What will the changes mean for Cocky’s Reading Express, USC’s wildly popular childhood literacy initiative? The CIC plans to continue the program and is working to increase its impact. For USC’s 2019 giving day, the college is asking donors to support Project Literacy, a campaign that will raise funds for CRE as well as a media literacy toolkit that CRE volunteers can share with educators in Title I schools during their visits.

CRE has also acquired donations from BP America and SCANA/SCE&G to support the program’s continuation.

SCCCL will also continue to maintain its collection of more than 11,000 books for children and young adults. The center recently struck a deal with Follett Corporation to acquire Destiny Library Manager, the collection management system used by most K-12 schools in South Carolina. This upgrade will allow SLIS students to gain hands-on experience with the software used by potential employers.

“Our acronym might have lost a letter, but our mission has picked up momentum,” Shelek says. “We’re excited to see the impact that SCCCL has in South Carolina and beyond.” 

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