October is Library Month, and this year, we are marking the month by celebrating kindness. In these challenging times, kindness is more important than ever. As we strive to be kind to others and to ourselves, we also want to take the opportunity to recognize the kindness present in our communities. So many organizations are overcoming constant challenges in order to serve their communities, and we are proud to be working with them.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, OPL has been working with community organizations to help bridge the digital divide. To date, we have provided 139 Chromebooks and 13 hotspots to 26 organizations on extended loan. These Chromebooks and hotspots are being used by organizations to give computer and internet access to vulnerable communities, allowing them to access forms, search for jobs, support their schoolwork, order groceries and medicine online, and access current and reliable public health information. In particular, with the return to school in September, many organizations are working hard to meet the needs of local youth.
OPL has loaned 44 Chromebooks to several Boys and Girls Club sites. One way in which these Chromebooks are being used is for the program, “Raise the Grade,” which pairs high school students with a mentor for homework help and life skills support. Chromebooks allow students to complete their homework and to connect with their mentors virtually. They also allow the Boys and Girls Clubs staff to sign in members and perform other work tasks.
18 Chromebooks have also been loaned to the YMCA-YWCA to be used for their programs. One of these programs is the YMCA-YWCA Second Stage Housing program, which provides assistance and transitional housing for youth no longer able to live at home. This program helps youth work towards independence, and members will use the Chromebooks for job searches, online workshops and courses, homework, counselling, apartment searches, and more!
Four Chromebooks were also loaned to the Michele Heights Community Centre. The community centre is starting a homework club for high school students, and they will use the Chromebooks to support this new program. The centre will also be providing a space for students who need a quiet place to work.
There are many organizations in our community who are spreading kindness and helping vulnerable people access resources and stay connected. To learn more about the fantastic work these community groups are doing, and how OPL is working with them, please see our posts Sharing, caring, and connecting in the community and Bridging gaps in the community. If your organization would like to get involved in this project, please contact OPL at 613-580-2940 or InfoService@BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca.
We’ll get through this together by staying strong and wise, and our daily quotient of kindness with these uplifting reads for a Library Month celebrating kindness: