Impact on Student Success 2021

Supporting student success

  • In response to community needs, we offered free, one-on-one virtual tutoring through a subscription to Students can get live, multilingual tutoring in over 300 subjects, 7 days a week.

  • Students participated in over 3,000 virtual tutoring sessions in 2021. The service was primarily used by high school students, college students and adults, although we had nearly 500 sessions attended by students in grades K-8.

  • We collaborated with six community agencies (Big Brothers Big Sisters, Refugee Women's Alliance, Somali Family Safety Task Force, Somali Health Board, Washington Building Leaders of Change and the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association) and the Seattle Housing Authority to co-design K-5 Library programs and services.

  • Our co-designed programs reached more than 480 youth and families, offering them the opportunity to interact with authors, develop storytelling skills and engage in activities that affirmed their identities and cultures. Participants were provided with learning supplies and materials in advance.

Global Reading Challenge 2021

  • In its 26th year, the Global Reading Challenge program, a reading competition for fourth and fifth graders from Seattle Public Schools, was all virtual. We redefined participation to focus on kids engaging with the books, and put less emphasis on the competition.

  • The program featured seven books by diverse authors whose books represent student populations served by Seattle Public Schools.

  • More than 1,600 students of fourth and fifth graders participated on almost 250 teams to compete in the reading trivia challenge. 70 schools accepted and distributed books to their communities, 56 had a virtual competition, and nine schools created their own in-house programming.

  • The Library partnered with Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) community builders to reach SHA families with Global Reading Challenge books and author talks. We distributed 1,600 books to five SHA campuses, and held three virtual author talks, co-hosted by SHA teens.

  • A key objective of this series was to elevate diverse voices, stories and experiences and to provide young people of color with the opportunity to see themselves fully represented in children’s literature. The program was featured in the South Seattle Emerald.

Story times, Play and Learns

  • Throughout the year, the Library recorded and posted story times and activities for children on the SPL Kids' YouTube channel. In 2021, we offered 95 different virtual story times in English, Spanish, and Mandarin, including 69 added in 2021. These programs were viewed over 14,000 times. We also offered 45 different early learning videos, including 25 added in 2021.

  • Our children’s librarians also hosted more than 80 live virtual story times partnering with local preschools, including Neighborhood House at Yesler Terrace, High Point and NewHolly, ReWA and the Chinese Information and Service Center.

  • Kaleidoscope Play and Learn, a program designed for parents and caregivers of young children to learn and explore together, was offered weekly. Many families commented that, especially during such a chaotic and stressful time, Play and Learn was a “bright spot” of their week.

  • The Library added 14 pre-recorded early learning videos created by one of our partners, the Chinese Information and Service Center, to the Library’s Kids’ YouTube channel that could be accessed anytime. These videos are offered in Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Russian.

  • Despite the disruptions to the traditional program model, the Library expanded its Raising a Reader partnership to serve all early learning programs in Seattle Public Schools. More than 1,080 children ages 18 months to 5 years participated.

  • The Library offered a number of All Abilities virtual programs in 2021, including the Inclusion Festival and the Spanish Language All-Abilities Story Time. We served over 125 individual families and around 15 to 25 families per event.

  • Patrons have commented that these programs made them feel less isolated and more connected to their communities, specifically communities of people with disabilities.

Summer of Learning: What’s Your Story?

  • With a core commitment to racial equity, our annual Summer of Learning program has evolved from a deficits-based program, focused on learning loss, to an assets-based community engagement model. We collaborate with families, youth and the community to understand and center their priorities, interests, needs and expertise.

  • With a theme of “What’s Your Story?,” the 2021 Summer of Learning program encouraged families to read, learn and explore together. The centerpiece of the program was a colorful, poster-size flyer distributed to all Library Locations that families and caregivers could take home and work on together. We distributed over 25,000 posters. It included book recommendations, coloring sheets, and 40+ activities.

  • We co-designed the content with The African-American Writers’ Alliance and The Bureau of Fearless Ideas. Three local artists – Eileen Jimenez, Stephanie Morales, and Brandon “BT” Thomas – collaborated on the artwork.

  • Working with second-generation storyteller, historian, and abolitionist Delbert Richardson, 10 Black youth, ages 13-18, participated in the Junior Storytellers paid internship program.

  • The Library partnered with more than 70 community-based organizations to distribute more than 14,000 books to more than 10,000 youth over the summer.

  • 100% of the books were distributed to youth who are Black, Indigenous, youth of color, insecurely or formerly insecurely housed, or LGBTQ+.

Supporting teen wellness through virtual reality and esports

  • The Library engaged a group of 12 teens, as well as college interns in the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, to co-design a virtual reality experience exploring and supporting teen mental health. This was part of a project called “Caring About Teen Mental Health,” supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

  • Twelve South Seattle teens participated in an esports program that included coaching on positive gaming practices. The teens helped design a card game, Tilted, that supports problem-solving when “tilt,” frustration and anger during gameplay, occurs.

  • Our virtual KidsTeam program provided 16 teens the opportunity to design and facilitate workshops for their younger peers.