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The “summer slide” is no match for your kindness!

You are helping children prevent reading and learning losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is no secret that the past few months have been a challenge for everyone. Libraries by nature are community spaces. While our hearts are in public service, we took the extraordinary step to close our physical spaces for an extended period to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Thanks to you, the Library was able to help residents through this difficult time by quickly reimagining library services for children, teens and adults.

From our homes to yours, we continued to serve our community with virtual programming and services that connected readers to our digital collection and assisted people in finding basic necessities.

With kids out of school for a long time, our librarians knew they had to rethink our Summer Reading Program. Designed to encourage kids and teens to read during school breaks so that they maintain their academic reading level, Summer Reading helps youth avoid the “summer slide.” While we could still encourage children and families to read and track their books, and we could still provide digital books and materials, traditional in-library activities, programs and events weren’t possible. But you saved the day and made library services happen!

Your generosity allowed us to reimagine Summer Reading 2020.

Without computers or internet access at home, we knew many kids couldn’t use the Library’s eResources. So, we went back to basics. With your help, the Library distributed more than 6,000 FREE books this summer to the kids who needed them the most.

To get books into kids’ hands, we turned to our partner organizations. One of our partners is Homeless Children’s Education Fund (HCEF). With more than 4,100 youth experiencing homelessness in Allegheny County, HCEF works directly with children and families at various shelters, schools and in the community.

In June, CLP delivered the first batch of 300 books to HCEF. Librarians selected books for young children, chapter books for school age children and bestsellers, like “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, for teens.

The books were stored so they could be quarantined before being safely delivered to kids participating in HCEF’s Virtual Summer Programming. HCEF’s team of volunteers distributed books to students across Pittsburgh. Instructors worked with these students to provide customized virtual tutoring using CLP-provided books as well as Kindles and other supplies provided by HCEF.

Carlos T. Carter, Executive Director of HCEF says, “Students have already begun reading the books to volunteers and instructors during their virtual sessions. The books students received were wonderful, diverse, high-quality books with amazing stories and beautiful illustrations and the students are enjoying them!”

Throughout the summer, HCEF volunteers delivered additional books directly to shelters and families experiencing homelessness in Pittsburgh.

“We are excited to have a partner like CLP who is as committed to empowering young people through reading and education as we are,” says Mr. Carter.

Thanks to your generosity, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh can partner with other community organizations to help Pittsburgh’s children and teens keep reading during these challenging times.

Your support helped the Library put more than 6,000 books into the hands of Pittsburgh kids.

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