Klatt Elementary librarian delivers books to students during pandemic

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 6:54 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - COVID-19 has put a damper on most classroom activities, but Klatt Elementary School Librarian Genevieve Stephens isn’t letting it stop her from connecting with students.

Stephens explained that the majority of students who go to Klatt Elementary live in the Dimond Estates Trailer Court which is several miles away. Because it’s too far for many to bike or walk to school, they weren’t participating in a program that offered curbside pickup of library books.

So Stephens decided to bring the books to them.

“As soon as the librarians and I started talking about the curbside I knew that for my kids at Klatt I would really need to find a way to do both, to offer it here at school and to offer it to my kids at Dimond Estates,” said Stephens. “I just wanted it to be equitable for all my kids, and to give them all the opportunity to get library books.”

The first issue was how to deliver, but that was quickly solved by a generous colleague who had recently arrived in the state with a large cargo van.

“I heard her say, ‘I just wish I could get the books out to the kids. I just don’t have a way to get there,’” said fellow teacher Denise Pranger. “And I sat there and I thought, I just moved up here with this great big van, so it’s perfect.”

Now, every Wednesday the pair set up shop at the trailer court and wait for students to arrive to collect the books they’ve pre-ordered online and return the ones they’ve already read.

Stephens said she loves putting books directly into student’s hands, not to mention getting to see the faces she’s missed for months.

“Many of them I’ve known since kindergarten, so this is a great way for me to connect with them," she said.

The students get the pleasure of receiving a real book they can take home and enjoy.

Stephens says she’ll be back at the site every week, even when the weather turns colder and it snows.

“I have told the kids I am here every Wednesday until they come back to school," she said.

Copyright 2020 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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