Historical Perspective: LitBits Throughout the Years

Throughout the 60 years of Literacy Rochester’s existence, one aspect remains a pride and true classic to the organization —the LitBits newsletter. 

Preparing LitBits
Jane Platt (left) and Doris Love (right) Preparing LitBits - 1976

The first LitBits edition was published in 1966 for those involved in the organization to read about updates, upcoming events, and tutor and student stories. Over the years, generous volunteers would make up a whole team to help edit, write, publish, and design the newsletters. 

The September 1969 edition is the earliest LitBits in the Literacy Rochester collection. This edition provides a glimpse into the day-to-day operations and happenings of the young organization. Nan Oster, Literacy Chairwoman, worked closely on this newsletter as she wrote encouraging words to current and inactive teachers about continuing their charitable efforts. Considering the period, publications of LitBits were a consistent and reliable form of communication with everyone involved in the organization. Specifically, details about the Student-Teacher Tea event, introductions to new faces in the library, and reminders about the organization name change from “Each One Teach One” to “Literacy Volunteers” were included in this publication. It is also in this 1969 edition that Nan announced that “we now have a fine staff for publishing this newsletter.” From then on, LitBits continued to grow and share impactful and inspiring information. 

Left to right: Caroline Chasey, Nan Oster, and Nancy Rickard. Photo from the Greece Post
September 1969 Edition: Page 1
September 1969 Edition: Page 2

The growing literacy organization was making a name for itself in the Rochester community and within the Literacy Volunteers of America affiliate community. By 1970, Literacy Rochester had an outstanding 375 volunteer teachers with the founding Syracuse organization leading behind with 150 teachers. Literacy Rochester continued to trailblaze and inspire other affiliates into the 1980s. During the 1981 Literacy Volunteers of America national conference hosted in Rochester, LitBits was honored for being an outstanding newsletter among the affiliate groups. Jeanne Townsend, the editor of LitBits at the time, accepted the honor. After the conference, the newest release of LitBits shared the accomplishment and Jeanne recognized and praised the team’s effort and dedication. 

Jane Platt (left) and Craig Telfer (right)
From left to right: Norma Reckhow, Ginny Alexander, Nan Oster, Jeanne Townsend, and Nancy Rickard
LitBits Fall 1981 Edition Announcing Honor of Best Affiliate Newsletter

As time passed, the organization would change, volunteers would come and go, and technology would improve. The Spring 2003 edition was the first edition available in its entirety as a PDF on the website. At this time, print publications were still being mailed out upon request. With more readers having e-mails and access to online communication, LitBits transitioned to e-mail publications in 2016, with blog posts to accompany the newsletter on the website. To this day, LitBits continues to publish monthly e-newsletters and maintain a decades-long tradition. 

Two of the many articles featured in the Fall/Winter 2000 edition posted on the LR website.

Over the years, thousands of subscribers received updates about the organization through LitbitsWe welcome new LitBits subscribers! Sign up now – Click Here or refer to the “Contact Information” section on this page. 

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