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Literacy organization opens new office at Canajoharie Library

December 7, 2012
ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

CANAJOHARIE - The Canajoharie Library opened a new office to help adults struggling with literacy, offering one of the few locations where those who require assistance can go.

Lisa Carilli, executive director of Literacy New York's Fulton-Montgomery -Schoharie region, was on hand to celebrate the opening of a new office in the Canajoharie Library, the fourth office to be opened in the three counties. It already has offices open in Fonda, Gloversville and Cobleskill.

The program teaches basic literacy to those 16 and older who are reading at a fifth grade level or lower. They also have GED programs for adults who are functioning higher and would like to earn a GED.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Arthur Cleveland
Members of the Literacy New York group and officials from the Canajoharie Library celebrate the opening of a new office at the library Thursday.

Carilli said the group also teaches those learning English as a second language who want to improve their language literacy skills. Carilli said on average the group works with 100 to 120 students at a time.

This new office will provide similar services to the others, but it's the location that is important.

"It will give us a home base in this part of Montgomery County, which has been lacking," Carilli said.

The program was established three years ago in a consolidation of several literacy groups, but the Schoharie county group had started in 1988 and the Fulton County group in 1987. The Montgomery County group is fairly new, according to Carilli. Roughly 1,000 students have been taught since the late 1980s.

Linda Dearwester, the Fulton-Montgomery County Program Coordinator for Literacy New York, said before the offices came along, the group would function out of churches and other organizations, where they serve primarily adults for free.

"We do some of our tutoring in libraries. There are a few community churches and other agencies that we do meet in," Dearwester said.

"It's kind of a new partnership for us," Dearwester said. "This is located at a very good point of entry. When people want to learn how to read, where do they think? The library."

Dearwester said before the opening of the Canajoharie office, she would have to drive around constantly.

"This is an actual place I can come two days a week," Dearwester said.

Librarian Leah LaFera said the library was chosen because of its location and because of the support it will give Literacy New York.

"They knew our library would be a good vocal partner for them," LaFera said, saying she has worked to bring new tutors to the organization.

She said many people in the area have trouble getting places, so the Canajoharie location will be convenient for many.

"Transportation in Montgomery County is a big issue for some," LaFera said.

Arthur Cleveland can be reached by email at



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