By Rachel Stine, Program Director
Book Harvest’s Rapid COVID Response is centered around Keeping Learning Alive and we know in order to succeed, we need to keep our own learning alive by listening and hearing from other similar organizations in the field. In April, we gathered a group of leaders from other book provision organizations based in North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee, to meet quarterly to share our experiences and learn from each other.
Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, the organizations represented in the group have provided 516,556 books to children at a variety of locations – school and community meal sites, child care centers, apartment communities, and pop-ups in front of Family Dollar stores and laundromats. The methods of provision have been innovative and creative and include – an online ordering platform, a structure built to display clear plastic bags of books so kids can see the books and choose, and books sorted by age and bagged. The organizations have experimented with shipping books to families, dropping books off on doorsteps, and providing contactless pick-up at grab and go events.
As a group, we have wrestled with questions of who are we reaching with books and who aren’t we reaching? How do we keep equity in the forefront of our minds as we do this work? How do we make sure we provide books that reflect the children reading the books? How do we best support families during this very trying time?
The challenges our communities face take new muscles and new ways of working together. We cannot do this work on our own!
I am so grateful for these partners, please check out the wonderful work they are doing!