Much of READ/San Diego's success can be attributed to its efforts to reach out to the community and build partnerships, so that it can better serve the "hardest to reach and hardest to teach" learners. Were it not for partnerships, READ/San Diego would be much smaller, recruiting far fewer tutors and learners. Nor would READ/San Diego have ventured into workplace literacy programs in public- and private-sector businesses. Without its partners, READ/San Diego would not have its reputation as the largest and strongest literacy program in San Diego.
Because partnerships are so central to the daily operations of READ/San Diego, this program has learned a great deal about how to recruit partners, maintain healthy partnerships, and even terminate those that no longer serve the needs of learners. As READ/San Diego Director Chris McFadden sums up the story:
The right partner can bring to the program prestige, acclaim, and visibility. READ/San Diego's partners have also added value in the form of experts who are more than willing to share their knowledge, their networks, and their names with us. These partners have provided something we lack, and vice versa. Together we have been able to offer services neither partner would have able to offer alone. San Diegans have been better served as a result, and resources have been used more efficiently. Library usage by the community has increased, and the library is increasingly seen as more caring and more proactive. Collecting data and monitoring partnership activity is essential to the latter process, a capacity that READ/San Diego has deliberately cultivated over the years. Keeping dozens of partnerships alive and well at any given point in time is no easy task, but it is vital to the success of this program.