Skip Navigation


Penny Severns Family Literacy Program

Expected Outcomes  |  Application and Forms  |  Supporting Documentation  |  Eligibility and Program Requirements  |  Funding

Grant projects provide integrated, intensive instruction to improve the basic reading, writing skills, math or English language proficiency of parents and children together. Services include adult education, child education, parenting education, literacy-based, interactive, parent-child activities and library services.

Projects also strengthen the ability of the parent to foster educational achievement and increase their ability to use the resources and services of the library. Services are provided through a partnership between a public library, an adult educational agency, and an organization that serves at-risk children.

Expected Outcomes

Application and Forms

All Literacy grant applications are due March 15.

Supporting Documentation

Partner agencies (those specifically named on page 2 of the Penny Severns Family Literacy application and who are not the submitting agency) must provide a letter of support detailing their responsibilities to the project.

Any additional participating agencies in the literacy project must attach a statement detailing their significant responsibilities to the literacy project. Each letter should describe their cooperation, coordination, and services to the project and include the signatures of organization representatives.

If the submitting agency is a not-for-profit entity, submit a copy of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Ruling on Determination Letter.

Special Note to Agencies Partnering with the Chicago Public Library

For Family Literacy applications, Chicago area agencies that propose to cooperate with a Chicago Public Library branch as a library partner must contact the Chicago Public Library (CPL) and get approval of their participation in writing. Responsibilities of both Chicago area agencies and the CPL are outlined below:

Responsibilities of Chicago Area Agencies

Responsibilities of the Chicago Public Library

The signed letter of cooperation from the Chicago Public Library must be submitted electronically with the completed application due March 15.

Informational Webinars

Penny Severns Family Literacy grant informational webinars are recommended for all Secretary of State funded Penny Severns Family Literacy grantees or any agency interested in applying for the program.

Eligibility and Program Requirements

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

Participant Eligibility Requirements

Programming Requirements

Back to Top


Public funds awarded under this grant range up to $35,000, with first year grant amounts not exceeding $25,000. Five projects are allowed. Total awards cannot exceed $180,000 per agency.

Allowable Costs

Costs not allowed

For more information about Penny Severns Family Literacy, please call 217-785-6921 or email

Back to Top

Penny Severns Family Literacy Program grants are funded in part using Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.