SignWriting List Archive 1
October 1997 - May 1998

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April 26, 1998

SUBJECT: Funding a Library of Literature

On April 25, 1998 Therese Shellabarger wrote:

>I wonder how "whole writing" can even be applied if the materials aren't
>there? Are there now books in print in SignWriting? If not, can they be
>developed? Have any of the publishers of ASL literature (such as
>DawnSignPress in San Diego) been approached for such a project?

* Therese Shellabarger - *
* Shalom chaverot! *


Hello Therese -
Of course without materials it is impossible to teach literacy - you are correct there! That is why we are developing the SignWriting Literacy Project - so that we can develop the materials necessary to start.

Yes...books in print, written in signed languages, can and are being developed. We have some children's stories and many articles written in ASL right now. And we will continue to build a library of literature.

Meanwhile, in other countries, such as Nicaragua, they have been typing and typing and typing, trying to build a library of written literature there. So in time this problem will be solved.

If others skilled in ASL would pitch in and learn SignWriting and help us build a library of literature it will go faster. The DAC cannot do everything. We have very little funding, and I and most of us here, are donating our time at the moment.

So...if there are people out there who know of foundations that give grants specifically for literacy development, especially in connection to deaf education, please write to me. We are a non-profit and have received grants from small private foundations for two decades. But finding foundations that specifically give to the subject of "Deaf literacy" can be a challenge. So if anyone has information on foundations please tell me.

Meanwhile, Therese, your question about commercial publishing companies, such as Dawn Sign Press, is an important question. Most commercial publishers need assurance that they can make money if they publish a book. And in the case of writing signed languages, the subject is too new for any such guarantee. Perhaps in ten years, when school systems start "officially" requiring SignWriting as a part of graduating from school, then book sales could generate income for a commercial publisher. But until that time, SignWriting literature will have to be "funded by non-profits" as we are doing.

I hope that answers some of your questions -

Meanwhile I hope others will respond with answers on sources for further funding...

All good wishes -