Closing schools due to the coronavirus pandemic has required educators to radically change how they teach. The daily connections to students, families, and colleagues are now made through virtual platforms that we may have been familiar with but not experts at using. Providing on-line learning from home presents its own challenges when one is home-schooling their own children, taking care of toddlers, and in many cases, caring for elderly and possibly ill parents. The increased levels of stress and anxiety are evident but in almost every colleague I have also witnessed the dedication, innovation, and determination to provide not only a continuity of learning but to also create an online culture of care for each and every student.
All of this would not be possible if school librarians did not have incredible partnerships with our educational partners. Our partnership with OverDrive and their dedication to providing resources and support is evidenced by the number of class sets of eBooks they quickly provided access to. Their representatives have been available night and day to support us with every technical issue, with every book request, and with every quote and purchase. While we've promoted Sora since its inception, the statistics for our eBooks collection have risen exponentially.
School librarians are most likely bristling at the thought of being called heroes as they read these words, but they have been connecting with students and families each and every day by providing and supporting online learning and promoting digital resources and streaming media for virtual classrooms across the country. They have personally delivered books to the homes of students without the Internet. They have devoted time and personal resources to create "little libraries" outside of school buildings so that kids can safely pick up a book to take home at any time. They are continually advocating for our kids without Internet connectivity by finding and sharing creative ways to use devices as hotspots to ensure that each child can stay connected to their teachers and classmates. The school librarians and our school library system teams have come together to create, innovate, and collaborate to meet the needs of every colleague, every student, and every family just as they do each and every day. Hopefully the one good thing that might come out of this pandemic is that they will finally get the recognition that they so deserve.