Opportunities continued to arise above the challenges of a global pandemic in 2021.
Highlights included expanding access to students via a partnership with the Westerville City Schools, a new exhibit shining light on the diverse food traditions in Westerville over the past 70 years, distribution of 13,452 COVID-19 take-home tests through a partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, and the launch of 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten (a new reading challenge for ages 0-5).
“Wonderful & truthful.” - Welcome to the Table exhibit visitor
We continued to offer core services like outdoor and virtual storytimes, one-on-one reading sessions with kids, author visits, book clubs, the reopening of the Homework Help Center, computer and internet access, and technology training.
“She made it so simple and easy. Not boring at all... she made me practice and I learned a lot.” – Excel class participant
"All in all book club is the high point of my months in these turbulent times!" - Book club member
Another popular service has been our hand-picked subscription bundles - saving parents time by helping to select books their kids will love - with 637 families served in 2021.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for keeping us learning, distracted, and happy in new worlds as we devoured books throughout the pandemic. You are appreciated." - Library customer
Unlock Your Potential
Student Library Card Project
In 2021, we partnered with the Westerville City Schools to issue 14,092 library cards for every child at every school. In just one month, this resulted in a 17% increase of items delivered to the schools!
Research shows that children who have library cards and use the library perform better in school. The goal of this project is to expand access to educational and recreational materials.
If a student already has a library card, there are some benefits to having an additional card, including teaching responsibility and autonomy, and providing convenient access to library research tools while at school without worry of significant financial responsibility for lost items. Learn more.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
Launched in April 2021, this reading challenge invites parents to spend quality time reading together with their kids ages 0-5. The goal – to read 1,000 books before starting school – helps to build language skills and prepare babies, toddlers, and preschoolers for kindergarten.
In just 9 short months, 358 families had signed up and 19 children had graduated. These families have already read an impressive number of books together - 54,000 and counting!
Launched in January 2020, the Innovation Lab continues to help people bring their ideas to life with hands-on learning and digital creation. Thousands of visitors have learned how to create and edit audio files in the recording studio, design and print posters for school projects, design and create 3D prints, design and cut shapes with the Cricut machine, digitize their family photos and videos, and more.
One customer has used the lab to create his own board game, learning to design and refine game pieces with classes hosted by library staff. He has since met with a game publisher to help with mass production and is already working on a prototype for another game!
And a local realtor used the custom printing service to create a poster-size print of Franklin County to use as a visual aid when working with clients.
Coming soon, the Westerville Public Library is excited to unveil a new after-hours pickup option, the return of in-person author visits with Fiona Davis and Margaret Atwood, an interactive light installation for kids, a summer featuring the Black History Mobile Museum, 24/7 wi-fi access at Freeman Park, two new story trails at Ridgewood and Hilmar Parks, and much more.
We look forward to the journey ahead.
For an in-depth look at the numbers, view our annual report.
Executive Director (March 10, 2022)