On April 15, the Waukee Public Library donated 800 books to be given out through the Waukee Community School District’s current free “Grab and Go Meals” program. Since 2017, the library has donated books to free summertime school lunch locations, and staff decided to expand the donations now after having to close the library’s doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth Services Librarian Keri Weston-Stoll said the initiative took shape as a way to keep kids reading regardless of the resources available to them at home.

“Even though many e-books are available, it is still important to get physical books into kids’ hands right now,” said Weston-Stoll. “Not every home has reliable internet access or enough devices for each family member to be online at the same time while everyone is competing to work and school from home. Print books can be read at any time without the internet. Many children prefer reading print books, and it is also important to give kids’ eyes a break from screen time. Reading and talking about what has been read is one of the best ways to keep up a child learning even without a formal lesson plan. We are thrilled to be able to do this.”

The free books will be distributed through the lunch program in the coming weeks. If the school closure is extended, the library is ready to donate additional books next month. It will also continue to donate books over the summer months thanks to the Summer Reading Program sponsor, Green State Credit Union.