We seek to unlock the life-changing power of literacy for every willing learner

Donors, sponsors, and partners make it possible for Ozarks Literacy Council to encourage literacy throughout the Ozarks. Your support helps us provide free tutoring as well as books to adults and children in our community. Making a difference starts with one willing individual. Your support empowers someone’s future through literacy.


Office hours Monday – Thursday 8:30 – 4:30

Reading assessments by appointment

900 North Benton Ave. Lay Hall #305, Drury University

Springfield, MO 65802

417-380-8976    email: info@ozarksliteracy.org


Our volunteer board is a diverse group of professionals dedicated to our mission

President, Sarah Kerner, FORVIS

Vice President, Stephanie Smallwood, Springfield-Greene County Library District

Treasurer, William Cologna, QCR Holdings

Secretary, Rachel Campbell, Show Me Christian County

Immediate Past President, Jennifer Johnmeyer, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema & Freelance by Jen

Abigail James-O’Quinn, James Financial Partners

Brooke Evans, Murney and Associates

Debra Yeager, Encore Bank

Kris Gregory, Haden, Cowherd and Bullock Law Firm

Jessie Conley, Everbridge

Michael Underlin, O’Reilly Auto Parts

Sunni Nutt, Boys & Girls Club of Springfield & Essential Yoga

Rubecca Wilson, Springfield Public Schools

Kevin Luebbering, Ozarks Technical Community College

Tracy Stout, Missouri State University


Amy Jardell

Amy c (2)

Sarah Derr

Sarah 2


Amy Jardell earned a Master of Nonprofit and Civic Leadership degree from Drury University. She has been with OLC since Nov 2018. Amy is leading OLC by initiating innovative new programs, promoting literacy, cultivating new donors and strengthening current relationships. “Literacy affects our entire community, we are in this together. Prioritizing literacy for all happens when we help where we can, give what we can and encourage reading everywhere.” 





Sarah Derr started with OLC in January 2023. She earned a Bachelors from the University of Northern Iowa and a Masters in Spanish Education from the University of Granada in Spain. Her background is in teaching, customer service, and volunteer coordination.  Sarah loves to read and to support volunteers. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead






On November 7, 1968, Dr. Frank Laubach spoke at University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield. The Springfield Area Council of Churches sponsored the meeting. As a result, the Springfield Area Literacy Council was formed. The council’s charter was adopted on November 14, 1968. In February of 1969, the first tutor training was held at Evangel College with Onita Beucher of Kansas City as the tutor trainer. Thirty tutors were certified and the Laubach “Each One Teach One” training began.



Until United Way funding was acquired in 1979, the agency operated from private homes and churches. United Way funding allowed for a small office downtown and a part-time secretary. The United Way Partnership introduced OLC to a larger audience. Our One-to-One tutoring had begun to grow.


In 1992, we changed our name to the Ozarks Literacy Council, and expanded services to include learners in 11 surrounding counties in Southwest Missouri. We trained 54 new tutors that year. The final total of volunteer tutors was 184, they helped us serve 192 adult learners.


The Pre-literacy program started because of a Special Needs Teacher with Springfield Public Schools.  She told us about her kids and how they didn’t have books in their homes.  She created an interactive program to go with specially selected books. After board approval, we got this pilot program funded by Ozarks Empire Kiwanis. We partnered with  Leadership Springfield to have members read for the pilot year to the Special Needs Classrooms. This was the spring of 2003. 
From then on The Darr Family Foundation funded the Pre-Literacy Program each year. After the first year, we had volunteers reading for each classroom four times a year.  


OLC partners with The Springfield Community Center to kick-off Books Come Alive. This program featured community professionals as volunteer readers. They would visit classrooms to read and share information about their profession.


In 2013 Ozarks Literacy Council and the Springfield-Greene County Library District entered into a lease agreement for office space at the Midtown-Carnegie Branch Library at 397 E Central St. This location has been ideal for OLC. The library to refers patrons to our services, provides space for regular training sessions, and reserves rooms for tutoring sessions.


2018 marked the 50th year of the Ozarks Literacy Council. OLC continues to serve the literacy needs of the community by offering three programs. Our main program of one on one literacy tutoring educated 193 learners in 2018. We have generous volunteers that read to 32 Springfield preschool classrooms and sent a new book home with each child. Our social advocacy keeps us engaged in the community through public events such as Neighborhood Night Out, Juneteenth, Backpack programs and more.


2021 was the beginning of a new hybrid style of learning. We have adapted to teaching online and in-person. Our programs have expanded to include the Reading Resource Program, aka #bookit. This program provides a volunteer reader for every class in the partnered elementary school. This lucky volunteer gets to spends at least 1/2 hour a month reading with their class. Every child receives a copy of the book read and three books for the summer. Teachers have already noticed a positive change is attitude regarding books and reading! 2023-24 we expanded to include three elementary schools, Williams and McGregor and York. #bookitmustangs,  #bookittigers, #bookiteagles!!!


We moved to Drury University campus.

900 North Benton Ave, Springfield, MO 65802