Library launches new learning resources for kids

On Aug. 19, Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District students will begin a new school year. With this year’s summer reading program winding down, Heights Libraries is gearing up its programs and services to support children and families with what can be a challenging back-to-school transition.

The first few weeks of school can be difficult for kids as they adjust to new classmates, teachers and expectations in the classroom.

“One challenge that schools face is seeing children return from summer break with weaker academic skills,” said Sam Lapides, Heights Libraries youth services manager. This widely documented phenomenon is called “summer learning loss” or “summer slide.”

“That’s where the library steps in. Once the school year starts the library is here for everyone,” Lapides said. “At Heights Libraries, we offer staff- and volunteer-run drop-in homework help programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, in addition to a wide variety of activities during the week to promote and encourage a love of reading. Another popular program we began last year was ‘Paws and Read,’ which allows children to read to a trained therapy dog named Emma.”

While these in-house programs are limited to library hours, library users can take advantage of learning resources outside of library branches by checking out materials. These days, a library card provides users with much more than access to printed books and magazines; it opens doors to e-media services, premier databases, and innovative learning technologies, too.

“We are constantly evaluating our services to meet the changing needs of the community,” said Lapides. “That’s why we’ve started offering Launchpads.” Launchpads are durable and secure tablets that come with pre-loaded interactive apps and other learning materials for children on subjects including science, writing and reading comprehension.

“We added the Launchpads to our collections in June to give customers access to learning tools they may not have at home. Because no Internet connection is needed, the tablets can be used anywhere,” said Charlotte Blasier, youth services librarian. “They are a great mix of education and fun! They are also virtually indestructible, with a rubber bumper cover and durable tempered glass.”

The Launchpads come with locked cases and chargers. They are currently available for one week checkout from the Lee Road branch, and cannot be placed on hold or renewed.

“September is National Library Card Sign-up Month, but we believe it’s never too early to start taking advantage of what the library has to offer,” Lapides said. “Literacy takes many forms. We’re here to meet children and families where they are and help them get to where they want to be.”

To learn more about Heights Libraries learning resources and programs, visit

Isabelle Rew

Isabelle Rew is the community engagement associate for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:08 PM, 08.01.2019