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Washoe library system gets award for innovative solutions used during COVID


Virtual Literacy Plus, a programming initiative of the Washoe County Library System, was recognized this week with a 2021 achievement award from the National Association of Counties.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, state-mandated restrictions and shutdowns led the library system to develop innovative solutions to the lack of in-person programming.

In an effort to foster an optimal learning environment, the library expanded its regular interactive events, launching a virtual component with the goal of connecting online with pre-K and K-12 age groups.

The virtual story time program was developed by Washoe County Library’s Youth Services and Virtual Services teams. Remote, video-based story times combined print motivation and pre-literacy skills with the library’s targeted vision to connect people with information, ideas and experiences.

Also, the Break with Baby and Early Reader virtual programs served children from birth to age 7 and their caregivers. They focused on interactive activities and early literacy tips in the absence of in-person story time.

“Reaching the community with virtual programs has had a positive and lasting impact on the library’s vision of library programming,” a statement from the library system on Friday said. “Hundreds of virtual story time videos have been viewed over 40,000 times, offering broad exposure to families who have not had the opportunity to visit a library in person.”

The National Association of Counties awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, library services, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health and civic engagement, among others.

Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.