New Orleans aims to be most literate city by 2018

Grammy award winning bandleader and New Orleans native Irvin Mayfield is working with city leaders to make New Orleans the most literate city by 2018.

Last year New Orleans was ranked the 25th most literate city among 75 U.S. cities according to a study conducted by Central Connecticut State University.

Actor Wendell Pierce, best known for his work on  “The Wire” and “Treme”, kicked off the program in January by trying to break the Guinness world record for the largest read aloud event where he read “The Bourbon Street Band is Back” to an estimated 500 children.

Turn the Page is a campaign to make New Orleans the most literate city in America by 2018. The campaign will focus on raising awareness of issues, available resources and programming related to literacy.

The Turn the Page program will connect 11 library systems including

The New Orleans Public Library and 10 other regional parish libraries, including Tangipahoa, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. Tammany, St. John the Baptist, Terrebonne, Jefferson, Ascension, Livingston and St. Bernard.

The campaign will operate by raising awareness of issues, available resources and programming related to early childhood, school success, digital literacy and adult literacy available at the libraries

Mayfield, co-chairman of   Turn the Page and Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, said As a young musician,it was the public library that allowed him access to his passion, music, through their collection of records and cassettes

Turn the Page  blitzed the city with 30 literacy-encouraging events in 30 days, such as the “Super Bowl of Reading,” through which people vote for their favorite author to be featured at area libraries, individual computer classes to help people get online, and a pajama story time for kids.


Mayfield said that a future with higher literacy rates could mean a better quality of life for all, as everyone would be able to make informed decisions and lead more productive lives, bettering society for workforce development.


The group plans to schedule more  “30 in 30” events with similar events throughout year .