Pratham Books bags Library of Congress International Literacy Award

September 02, 2017 11:54 pm | Updated September 03, 2017 09:00 am IST - Bengaluru

A Bengaluru-based non-profit trust has received the prestigious Library of Congress Literacy Award for creating open access multi-lingual storybooks for children.

Pratham Books is among the three organisations that received the award in the international prize category and bagged it for their story-weaver initiative which is an open-source, digital repository of multilingual stories for children. This has over 4,500 stories across 84 languages with a repository of 7,000 openly licensed images, accessed from over 190 countries.

A press release from the Library of Congress states that these awards recognise organisations in the United States and worldwide. “The awards recognise groups doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work, and they spotlight the need for the global community to unite in striving for universal literacy,” the release said.

Digital and print

Suzanne Singh, chairperson, Pratham Books, says their digital repository as well as their print books have a readership of 50 million. “Our print programmes are as robust as always. Our digital work is an add on to the print and does not in any way aim to replace the print,” she said.

On the award, Ms. Singh said that this would deepen the work they are already doing and would help them develop more books in other languages. About the challenges in developing multilingual books, Ms. Singh says that finding the right talent for translating content is a key challenge. The organisation has received a cash prize of $50,000. Several State governments including Bihar, Punjab and Uttarakhand have procured their books.

The two other organisations who received the award are Children’s Literacy Initiative, Philadelphia, and National Centre for Families Learning, Louisville, Kentucky.

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