Hometown Hero Sara Bareilles Bestows the Gift of Literacy

Sara Bareilles delivers the keynote address at the 2021 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Eureka native, Grammy winning singer-songwriter, Tony nominated Broadway star, and current star of the network sitcom “Girls5eva” Sara Bareilles is gifting her hometown with books. Five thousand books. 

As keynote speaker at the recent Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Bareilles was invited by Scholastic, the world’s largest children’s book publisher, to select a charity to receive this massive donation. Bareilles chose Humboldt Literacy Project.

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude,” says HLP Executive Director Emma Breacain. “I don’t know if Ms. Bareilles realizes how far her gift will go. Of course our tutors and learners will use these books in their studies, but we also have partnerships with many other local agencies. Now that we’re coming out of various Covid restrictions, we’ll be able to have family book giveaways again soon, and to return to supplying books to local agencies that work with families and people trying to improve their skills and prospects. 

“This is an open call to re-establish the relationships with the agencies we shared books with before the pandemic, and an invitation for other organizations to call us up and let us help them out. Because honestly, we are not just overwhelmed with gratitude, we are about to be overwhelmed with about 150 boxes of books. We’ll be working to get those books out of boxes and into the hands of readers all around Humboldt County.”

An estimated 14,000 adults in Humboldt County are functionally illiterate. Since 1981, Humboldt Literacy Project has been connecting adults who wish to improve their reading and writing with adult volunteer tutors for free, confidential, one-on-one English language tutoring for native English speakers and second-language English learners. They also have regular family literacy events and book giveaways. 

Breacain says, “Ms. Bareilles has a lot of themes of courage and resilience and pride woven into her work, and I think that perfectly echoes the courage and resilience our volunteers and clients show every day, and how proud we are of them. We are going to be grateful ‘5eva’ for this wonderful gift.”

Learn more about Humboldt Literacy Project at humboldtliteracy.org, or call 707-445-3655.

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It’s a Family Literacy Party!

Grab an instrument, or a noisemaker, or a paper towel tube, or a pan and a spoon – whatever ya got! – and let’s make MUSIC TOGETHER!

Humboldt Literacy Project and the Humboldt County Library are thrilled to announce a Family Literacy Party series featuring Music Together with José Quezada and Heather Shelton, via Zoom. The parties are held on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., for four weeks:  September 30, October 7, 14, and 21. 

Family Literacy Parties are a unique program celebrating the joy of sharing songs and stories with our families and friends and inspiring people of all ages and abilities to learn and have fun together. Children and the grownups who love them are invited to sing, dance, and play with José and Heather of Music Together! Bring your musical instruments or found objects like a cardboard box for drumming, wooden sticks for rhythm sticks, and toilet paper for dancing scarves – or just clap your hands and stamp your feet with us. Bring your very young kids, middle agers, and older folks for four weeks of fun.

Since 1981, Humboldt Literacy Project has connected adults who want help with their reading and writing with volunteer tutors for free, confidential, one-on-one English Language studies. Family Literacy Parties aim to include the whole household in this venture of education and fun. For more information about the Humboldt Literacy Project and Family Literacy Parties, visit www.Humboldtliteracy.org.

Participants will need to register in advance. You can find program information and the registration link on the library’s calendar of children’s events in the Eureka Library at www.humlib.org or register directly here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIvdu-rqDMiH92BgjWXn1vaWiY3nAtKT3zy

After you register, you will receive an email message with the link to the Zoom meeting.

En Espanol:

Humboldt Literacy Project (El Proyecto de Alfabetización de Humboldt) y Humboldt County Library (la Biblioteca del Condado de Humboldt) están encantados de anunciar una serie de “Fiestas de Musica y Movimiento” con Jose Quezada y Heather Shelton de North Coast Music Together via ZOOM.

Las fiestas serán todos los miércoles por la noche a las 7 p.m., durante cuatro semanas: 30 de septiembre, 7, 14 y 21 de octubre.

Las familias deberán registrarse con anticipación. Puede encontrar información sobre el programa y el enlace de registro de ZOOM en el calendario de eventos para niños de la biblioteca. Vaya al sitio web de la Biblioteca Eureka en www.humlib.org, o regístrese directamente oprimando aquí:


Después de registrarse, recibirá un mensaje de correo electrónico con el enlace a la reunión de Zoom.

Estas fiestas serán un programa único que celebrará la alegría de compartir canciones e historias con nuestras familias y amigos. Al mismo tiempo, las fiestas pueden ser una forma divertida de aprender y practicar inglés. ¡Los niños y los adultos que los aman están invitados a cantar, bailar y jugar con José y Heather de North Coast Music Together!

Traiga sus instrumentos musicales u objetos encontrados en su casa: como una caja de cartón para tocar la batería, palos de madera para musica de ritmo, o papel higiénico para bufandas de baile, o simplemente aplauda y pise con nosotros. Traiga a sus hijos muy pequeños, a los de mediana edad y a los mayores para cuatro semanas de diversión.

Desde 1981, Humboldt Literacy Project (El Proyecto de Alfabetización de Humboldt) ha conectado con adultos que desean ayuda con su lectura y escritura con tutores voluntarios para estudios gratuitos, confidenciales y individuales para aprender la idioma inglés. Las fiestas tienen como objetivo incluir a toda la familia en esta aventura de educación y diversión. Para obtener más información sobre Humboldt Literacy Project (el Proyecto de Alfabetización Humboldt) y las Fiestas de Alfabetización Familiar, visite www.Humboldtliteracy.org .

Autumn 2020 News in a Nutshell



Hello, friends of HLP!

We at Humboldt Literacy Project sincerely hope that you and yours are faring well in these challenging and historic times. 

We are all right! HLP staff is sheltered in place and working mostly from our homes. We are still enrolling new learners and training new tutors, and they are working together by various creative means to continue their studies in the safest possible way. HLP strongly encourages remote learning techniques and online teaching materials at this time. Many are accomplishing this with videoconferencing, and those who do not have access or comfort with the technology are using telephones, texting and even written, mailed work! Naturally, we are making physical study materials available to our tutors and learners with contact-free pickup or dropoff. Our next orientation for volunteer tutors will occur on Zoom, at a date to be set for late September or early October.


Our 15th Annual Trivia Challenge, scheduled for May, was of course postponed. We look forward to the day we can safely reunite our Trivia family for some much needed merriment. We are currently hoping/planning to host our next in-person Trivia Challenge in 2021, but we’ll be looking for ways to have fun together in a distanced setting before then.


Together with the Humboldt County Library we are working to bring you a whole slew of distanced fun in the form of live, internet-based family entertainment, games, and exercises as part of our Family Literacy Program. Please keep an eye out for announcements of our family fun events, starting this fall. 


Our website has changed. HumboldtLiteracy.org is our new URL. Please update your records.

That’s all for now! Feel free to keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Fortuna’s First Little Free Library is at Humboldt Literacy Project

IMG_2085(1)Humboldt Literacy Project proudly announces Fortuna’s first Little Free Library, located in front of HLP’s office behind the Fortuna United Methodist Church at 922 N Street.

Little Free Library “is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world,”  according to their website.

“It’s a spot where community members can take a book to read, and leave a book to share,” says HLP Program Coordinator Anicia Peppas, who oversaw construction and installation. It is one of many Little Free Libraries around Humboldt County and the world.

Humboldt Literacy Project and students from Fortuna Union High School worked together to build Fortuna’s own Little Free Library.  Local artist Byran McWaters, owner of Mad Metals, created the Little Free Library’s unique base for the colorful, hand painted box.  “We couldn’t be happier with the end result,” Peppas said.

A big thank you to Hannah Lewis, Amy Conley, Robbie Yates, Sarah Gallagher and Byran McWaters for helping get this Little Free Library up and ready for the people of Fortuna.

A second HLP Library is being planned for Eureka in 2018.
Humboldt Literacy Project is dedicated to building a strong, literate community and bringing books and people together, with a primary mission of providing free, confidential, one-on-one English Language Tutoring to adults who wish to improve their skills.
Visit  HumLit.org for more information or come in and ask what you can do to get involved when you visit the Little Free Library.


amy_stewart_delightful_eye_photography_3800_croppedBestselling author and Eureka Books co-owner Amy Stewart has accepted the role of Humor Judge at Humboldt Literacy Project’s 12th Annual Great Humboldt Trivia Challenge, April 23 at Cher-Ae Heights Casino.

In a twist added to the competition just last year, teams that do not have the correct answer to a trivia question may submit their best “wrong-but-funny” answer for prizes and glory awarded at the discretion of the Humor Judge. “We wanted to increase the ways people can win,” said HLP Executive Director Emma Breacain. “And we wanted to increase the fun. It worked, and the Humor Judge had more fun than anybody. We are honored to have Amy carry the Humor torch for us, and we expect she’ll enjoy herself.”  

There are many ways to enjoy the Trivia Challenge, including registering a team of three to compete, or sponsoring a team’s entry fees. Audience members can bid on individual questions whose answers they think they know. Everyone is encouraged to check out a silent auction brimming with local art and goods, and to dress up for the literary-themed costume contest where adulation and more prizes will be showered upon the best group and individual costumes. The evening includes a lavish buffet dinner for players and spectators alike. 

“I’m delighted to help support literacy in Humboldt County,” said Stewart. “’Wrong but funny’ happens to be my area of expertise, so I’m looking forward to hearing what the teams come up with.” 

The Great Humboldt Trivia Challenge is the main annual fundraiser for the Humboldt Literacy Project, which provides free, confidential, one-on-one English language tutoring to adults. The United States has an adult illiteracy rate that has remained close to 15% for more than a decade. Breacain said, “We’re always looking for fun ways to combat a serious issue together.”

For more information about the Literacy Project or the Trivia Challenge, call (707) 445-3655 or visit HumLit.org.

“Drop In” to HLP!


Humboldt Literacy Project invites community residents to attend its monthly informational “drop-ins” at three Humboldt County Public Library sites beginning Tuesday, Aug. 2, 3-5 p.m.

The participating libraries: Eureka Main Library, 1313 Third St., Arcata Library, 500 Seventh St. and Fortuna Library, 753 14th St., with McKinleyville to be included later this summer. These events are free. HLP board members and staff will be available to answer questions and to discuss ways to get involved with the organization as a learner or as a tutor.

Do you want to improve your reading? Do you know someone who needs to learn to read? Reading is essential not only as a leisure activity but for success in all aspects of everyday life. Key areas where reading is very important include finding employment, finding housing and utilizing social services. Should you sign a cell phone agreement or apartment lease if you can’t read it? How do you fill out a job application without being able to fully understand the job description and employee responsibilities?

In Humboldt County, an estimated 13,800 adults are functionally illiterate; they read below a fifth-grade level. Another 23,000 people in our county read below an eighth-grade level. Since 1985, Humboldt Literacy Project has been matching adult learners with trained tutors.

The drop-ins are scheduled to be held the first Tuesday of every month.

They will provide an opportunity for library patrons to find out about Humboldt Literacy Project’s multiple resources for Humboldt County residents.

For more information, please phone (707) 445-3655 or email literacyhelpers@gmail.com.