San Diego Public Library Takes Reading Virtual

From live storytime to online tutoring, not to mention a slew of digital books in a virtual library -- Librarians want parents and kids to know that the San Diego Public Library (SDPL) is still there for you while you're "staying at home."

"We have regular programing just like we would at the libraries -- just like we would do storytime and whatnot. We're just doing it virtually through the Facebook page," said SDPL Supervising Librarian of Youth and Family Services, Ady Huertas.

The SDPL has been closed since March 16, following an amendment to the San Diego County public health order that limited gatherings and ordered restaurants to close dine-in services.

At least twice a day every weekday, a librarian goes Facebook live on the "SDPL Stay-In Storytime Club" page to urge children to keep reading while they are at home during the nationwide "stay at home order.

  • At 10 a.m., younger kids can join in on a live reading of a children's book, often enhanced with props, musical instruments, singing or dancing. " "They can grab their snack or lunch and then join us to do a couple chapters of reading," Huertas said.
  • At noon, a librarian encourages older students to grab a book and join in a live reading of one or two chapters. This week, teens are working their way through "Anne of Green Gables."

The library even offers additional educational entertainment like bilingual Fridays where Huertas herself sings, dances and reads with kids in English and Spanish. On Saturdays, the SDPL offers arts-and-crafts time.

"The library is here for you," Huertas said. "Please utilize us as a free community resource. We continue to add more virtual engagement and more electronic resources."

The interactive activities on the SDPL Facebook page are just a few of the virtual resources available to kids and students while the libraries are closed.

Below are some of the other resources available thanks to the SDPL. Note that some do require a library card, but if you don't have one, not to worry. Huertas said a temporary card can be obtained by submitting an application here.

Virtual Tutoring
Did you know that the SDPL offers tutoring in a variety of subjects? It's through a program called Brainfuse HelpNow and most of the tutors are teachers that have been vetted by the library. Tutoring is offered every weekday from 1 to 10 p.m., so it's possible to find a tutor that fits your schedule. A library card is required

Spring Into Reading
This yearly program that emphasizes reading among youth is being taken online this year. Spring Into Reading asks kids and teens to log how many books they read from March 19 to April 30 for a fun reward. This year, those prizes are in the form of digital badges! To play along, register for the program here. Then, record yourself reading, a book, a magazine, a recipe -- anything, Huertas says.

Electronic Resources
Even when you can't go to the library, there are thousands of books to "check out," virtually, of course. The SDPL has what they call a "cloud library where you can download e-books, magazines even audiobooks. The cloud library even has about 300 books in Spanish. A library card is required

"We've seen a huge increase in the usage of our electronic resources and our cloud library," Huertas said.

Do you have a fun way your family is engaging in reading while following "stay at home" orders? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter or tag us on Instagram.

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