Book Giveaway Initiatives with Community Partners
The ability for Ames Community School District students to have high-quality reading materials in their homes was an early concern in the COVID-19 school closure period. To meet student’s needs for reading materials, critical for continued learning, elementary staff in each building set to work. Two separate book giveaway initiatives helped students and families get books into their home.
Rotary and Elementary PTO Groups:
Early on in the school closure period, district staff made calls to each home, asking questions to identify families in need of assistance. These questions included topics around food and technology as well as if books were needed for students. Once this information was gathered and compiled at a building level, it was used to inform a response plan for distributing books to approximately 500 students.
One SUCCESS teacher in each school and a designated teacher at Northwood Preschool Center became coordinators for their site. Classroom teachers helped match book interests and reading levels for each student. Teachers were able to add names if they felt a student who had not self-identified needed books. Ames CSD shared the final information about book interests and reading levels with the Ames Public Library, who then selected specific materials and ordered them for each child. Then the work began to get books sorted by building and delivered.
Rotary Club of Ames volunteered to sort, bag, and label 2,300 books for children. The District Maintenance Department coordinated with Durham busing to configure efficient bus routes to children’s homes. District and Rotary volunteers worked collaboratively to deliver books to each child’s homes. Families were notified to expect books on Wednesday, May 27, the first time they were made aware of this wonderful gift.
Ames Public Library and United Way of Story County:
Thanks to our partnership with the Ames Public Library and United Way of Story County, we were able to hand out books to families at our three grab and go meal sites. Books were purchased by the Ames Public Library Friends Foundation and they were individually packaged according to grade-level appropriateness. One book per week per student was distributed at our open meal sites: Meeker, Mitchell, and Sawyer, with the books being distributed on Wednesdays. In all, 4,780 books were distributed to families during the school closure period.