Educators of all types were welcomed recently at the Kent District Library Service Center as a “thank you” for their courageous work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 7,000 books were distributed for FREE to teachers and home school parents on October 17.
Since the onset of the pandemic, KDL’s ‘weeded’ collection grew to more than 10,000 gently-used books. These are gently-used materials that have met their expected life cycle at the library and must be removed from the collection in order to make room for new materials. All the while that the ‘weeded’ collection grew, teachers and home schoolers have been increasingly challenged to meet the needs to students.
In an effort to answer the call of educators in need, KDL established 110 appointment time slots for people to pick materials while maintaining safe attendance numbers at any given time. This allowed for social distancing measures that kept the book giveaway safe. Hand sanitizer and face coverings also kept teachers safe as they perused the used materials in a giant outdoor tent. One of the challenges was to manage safe distancing because book sales and giveaways traditionally attract huge crowds of people.
The Community Engagement team at KDL, including Sara Proaño, Joyanne Huston-Swanson, Kevin Kammeraad, Kelaine Mish, Grace Miguel-Cipriano, Adam Flynn and Jim Davis joined various other KDL staff and volunteers to host the giant giveaway, setting up and tearing down after giving away thousands of books in less than 24 hours.
While nearly all youth materials were given away, more than 3,000 adult books remain. These books are being scheduled to be shared with community partners working in adult care, assisted living and adult education.
“We hope this Book Giveaway was the first of many,” said Jim Davis, Community Liaison for KDL. “We were able to invest in our relationships with Kent County educators, and teachers were able to gather resources for their classrooms and students to support learning in these wild times.”
Sara Proaño serves as Community Engagement Manager at KDL and recognized this event as the tip of the iceberg. “Many organizations, businesses and communities now offer Little Free Libraries. Having seen the success of this giveaway, we will now be organizing shelves of materials for the local champions who oversee, care for and stock their local Little Free Library. With a Friday afternoon appointment, these individuals can ‘shop’ for FREE.”
KDL is committed to furthering all people and is proud to be giving more than 10,000 books away to educators in the month of October.