Reducing barriers to access for low-income children of color
According to Seattle Public Schools and the City of Seattle, Seattle has one of the largest gaps in achievement between black and white students in the nation.
- In recent years, we have reallocated our bookmobile stops to serve more preschools serving low-income families, which meant eliminating our service to unsubsidized private preschools. We now reach over three times as many public preschools and approximately 77% of the students we serve are children of color.
- With a large Somali-speaking community in Seattle, we recognized that our collection lacked children’s books in Somali. To remedy this, we worked with five families from the NewHolly neighborhood, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Housing Authority, Somali Family Safety Task Force and a local Somali poet and community activist to create Baro Af-Soomaali, an alphabet book for Somali families.
- We offer story times for kids up through preschool in multiple languages, including Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Somali. This nurtures a connection to language and culture for new immigrant families, and it allows parents with low English proficiency to read with their children. We also offer guidance in five languages to parents of young kids, with “five steps to raising a reader.”
- In our Kids Team collaboration with the University of Washington Information School, the Library has begun creating digital learning programs for kids through an innovative co-design process, and plans to teach other U.S. libraries.
- Our innovative Team Read summer tutoring program pairs struggling readers up to third grade with trained teen coaches who receive a paid internship. The majority of students in Team Read are in schools that have high levels of poverty.
- Through our public engagement program’s emphasis on civic leadership, indigenous youth from the Clear Sky Native Youth Council worked with the Library on oral histories that supported efforts to make Licton Springs Seattle’s first-ever Native landmark.