Greenville Literacy Association

By Greenville Literacy Association

The storyteller Garrison Keillor once said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” Nowhere does that statement ring truer than at Greenville Literacy Association. Books are where our mission begins and ends.

First, though, a bit of background:

Through three learning centers, GLA offers adult education services to anyone over 18 in Greenville County. These services include GED preparation, English as a second language, and career-readiness help. We take a multitiered approach to ensure that adults in the Upstate can achieve financial independence and rely less on costly public assistance. Take, for instance, Frances (not her real name), who’s been employed since leaving the 10th grade with a local manufacturing facility where advancing technology means fewer labor-based positions. She’s laid off, and without a high school credential, her job prospects (and bank account) rapidly dwindle as she inches closer to welfare dependency. What options does she have?

Enter Greenville Literacy Association. Through three conveniently located learning centers (Greenville, Greer, Simpsonville) and accompanied by an accommodating class schedule and nominal fee plus available scholarships, Frances can attend classes that work with her schedule at a cost that won’t further jeopardize her financial standing. Since GLA tests each student upon enrollment, Frances will be immediately placed on a track that best fits her level of comprehension. We’ll help improve her technology competence and deepen her understanding of the soft skills required to thrive in the modern workplace. She’ll be scheduled for placement testing, signed up for classes, and paired with a program manager equipped as a practical guide for the long haul.

We do address traditional illiteracy, but the majority of our population comes to us with a comprehension level that falls somewhere between fourth and eighth grades. Many times, we see advanced students enrolling to quickly achieve a GED, and that’s where our recently launched 90 percent success-rate GED boot camp comes in. For each GED graduate GLA sends back into the Upstate, the community sees an annual return of over $16,000.

OK, back to the books. If you’ve ever been to one of our 17 Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sales, you’ve seen the, uh, passion (read: chaos) that ensues when our community is exposed to a great deal on reads. If you’ve ever donated a book to GLA’s learning centers or book drives, you’ve bolstered an essential funding stream that keeps our mission alive. If you’ve made a direct gift to our mission, you’ve helped stock our centers with GED preparation guides, literary volumes, ESL textbooks, and more.

How to help:

  • DONATE your gently used books or DVDs year-round at McAlister Square or at any of our book donation sites, which are updated frequently at Better yet, drop by our Greenville Learning Center for a tour and we’ll take them off your hands right then and there.
  • VOLUNTEER as a tutor at any of our three learning centers and see the aforementioned books in action!
  • ATTEND or volunteer at our events, especially the upcoming 18th Annual Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap Book Sale (Aug. 9-11 at McAlister Square).
  • GIVE a financial gift to support the fight against illiteracy and poverty.

Find out more about GLA and how you can become involved at

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