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July 24, 2014

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In Sandy’s Wake, Library Systems Help City Keep Students Connected

kids2 In Sandy’s Wake, Library Systems Help City Keep Students Connected

Photo courtesy of the Queens Public Library.

The New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Library systems have partnered with the city to ensure that students affected by Hurricane Sandy are able to stay on course academically.

Late last month, schools chancellor Dennis M. Walcott announced that the Department of Education would offer online courses to students displaced from their homes and to those attending affected schools. “The impact on students demands more resources to ensure they get the education they need,” Walcott said. “These online courses will help keep our students on track for their academic success.”

The courses—which are an extension of New York’s digital iZone initiative—can be completed through any computer with Internet connectivity. The city’s public library systems will complement the DOE’s efforts by offering these students Internet access across its branches.

“The city’s critically important program to help students displaced by the storm is a public service that we are very proud to offer as we continue to do all we can to help New York recover and support education, ” said New York Public Library president Tony Marx.

In the storm’s wake, librarians have come together to offer support and resources. At November’s annual NYCSLS fall conference, New York City librarians discussed a plan to deliver supplies and volunteers to affected libraries so that they could continue to provide essential student services. Linda E. Johnson, president and chief executive of Brooklyn Public Library, said that just days after the storm, bookmobiles traversed some of the borough’s hardest-hit neighborhoods and delivered books, charging stations and other materials to those in need. “We will continue to help all of our patrons, volunteers and employees recover from the disaster,” Johnson said. NYPL’s Tony Marx added that since Sandy struck, the library has offered free Internet, heat, power and other resources to thousands of New Yorkers.

To enroll in the city’s online courses, students must complete an interest form online or by calling 718-642-5885. The city will set up a learning plan for each eligible student, and they can go online to access the courses.

Along with Internet access, libraries will offer students technical assistance and other support, said Bridget Quinn-Carey, chief operating officer of the Queens Library. “Our doors are open, our computers and our trained information professionals are available to help students succeed,” she said.

This article was featured in School Library Journal's Extra Helping enewsletter. Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to your inbox for free.

Hiten Samtani About Hiten Samtani

Hiten Samtani (@hitsamty) is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School covering the madcap world of real estate for The Real Deal, and a former contributing reporter on education for the New York Times.

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