Even though the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is over and things have mostly gone back to normal, there are still children who have been significantly affected in terms of academic growth and learning loss from the school closures and reliance on distance learning. According to a study by Horace Mann Educators Corporation, more than 97% of teachers reported their students are behind compared to classes held prior to the pandemic.
Luckily, work is being done to combat this. The Arkansas Department of Education awarded funds to schools from the American Rescue Plan to create over 84 summer and after-school programs in the last year. Not to mention, our own library has recently been able to offer more educational and social programming for kids and teens outside of school hours, like After the Bell at FCL! You can check out the monthly calendars for each age group at fcl.org under the Programs tab.
As parents, caregivers, educators, and community leaders work to fill in the learning gaps for our students, there is one other invaluable (and FREE) tool that will help our young patrons to get back on track towards success: a library card! There’s a reason why we have such a lenient checkout policy and let our patrons borrow up to 100 items per account. So many teachers, students, and homeschooling families depend on a library card to boost learning, and allowing them to check out a higher volume of materials at a time–something they often do, which always makes us librarians smile–widens their capacity to level the playing field and place their learners on the threshold of a promising career path.