Supporting our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic
A short letter from April, 2020
Whenever and wherever you read this, we hope you and your loved ones are healthy and well. There is no point in pretending that circumstances aren't tough right now. They are. Thankfully, communities across the nation are coming together to support one another and to keep one another afloat. Thankfully, we have seen so many people turn outwards, with openness and generosity, in order to make the lives of others easier. To those who have turned that kindness toward Books for Kids, we are so grateful. Please know that your efforts are being passed on directly in the form of literacy services to the thousands of children and families we serve.
Below is a summary of the ways we are offering support to our communities now that schools and libraries have closed their doors (at least physically and, for some, completely). As we, like our students, teachers, and families, adapt to these difficult times, we hope the support we are able to offer can provide bright spots of happiness and moments of meaningful education despite the challenges of our present circumstances.
Your Friends at Books for Kids
Updated March, 2021
Story Time... online
Our schools and students are used to seeing their Library Specialist each week for Lending and Story Time. We have students who refuse to miss school on library day; it's really quite the event! But with schools variously closed, blended, and open- Story Time can't continue as we know it. But that doesn't mean it has to end!
Our team has created a library of over 140 pre-recorded Story Time videos, ever-growing, so that students can continue falling in love with stories each and every week. It's also important for them to continue their relationships with their Library Specialist, a trusted community member in their lives, who they have come to know and depend on. To that end, our Library Specialists have been working closely with teachers to create virtual classroom schedules, and are now a regular part of their students' weekly school routines.
Embracing a virtual program structure and the inclusion of remote Story Times with students living in family homeless shelters and outside of school hours, we are currently hosting more sessions than we were pre-COVID.
Books to go!
While schools were closed in the communities we serve, it meant not just the loss of educational materials and services, but of other essential services like meals for children. For those that were able, we saw and continue to see schools rally to provide meals and other supplies to families at designated times during the week.
If families are there, we're making sure books are too. We're providing books and encouraging schools to give them away to families who stop by for food and other resources. Having age-appropriate books at home for our PreK students is a vital part of their learning, and the more books at home for the discovery of new stories and rereading, the better!
As more schools go from blended learning to fully open, we've been able to increase the number of books sent home as part of our Build a Home Library program. From distribution through schools and in partnership with shelters, thousands of new books are entering children's home collections.
Digital resources and literacy support for families and teachers
Songs, rhymes, reading logs and reading lists...you name it, we've got it or we're working on it! We're sharing reading tips, book activities, and lesson plans with our school communities so that learning can continue at home, even though school is out. It's vital that two to five year olds continue their educations and explorations of their world.
We've heard directly from our school directors that teachers and families are in great need of these resources, because PreK is not a time of schooling that is easily adapted to online learning in the traditional sense. We're in constant contact with our schools so that we can assist and provide resources as needed.