September 9, 2017

Q&A: Ann Kowal Smith (Crain's Cleveland Business)

The lack of educational opportunities for working adults who didn't have the time or resources to return to the educational system always bothered Ann Kowal Smith. So, she turned to one of the oldest forms of technology — books — and tossed them into the workplace. It turns out the idea worked. Today, Books@Work, a local nonprofit that offers professor-led literature seminars for the workplace, has delivered programs in 17 states and five foreign countries.

The program was also recognized as an innovator by the National Book Foundation — a particularly special honor given that Books@Work was the only program recognized that focuses on adults in the workplace and in the community rather than children. Also, the nonprofit recently received another $150,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation to continue to expand its reach. Crain's recently chatted with Smith — an avid reader herself — about the growth of Books@Work and why books still matter in a 21st century economy. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Read the full interview at Crain's Cleveland Business.

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