El Paso ISD’s Curbside library book checkout keeps students reading at home

EPISD librarians began turning to curbside service during the era virtual learning to help them fulfill students’ hunger for the smell and feel of a freshly-cracked book.

“Even though our students have access to a lot of e-Resources from home, some students prefer to read ‘real’ books and these books can provide a relief from a virtual environment,” said Armando Loera, library learning administrator. “EPISD Librarians work hard to instill a love of reading to our students and this service reinforces it.”

Tom Lea Elementary librarian Lisa Gailey began offering the service since the first day of school, with students looking at their online catalogue to see what’s available before requesting it.

“They spend the majority of their day online and parents want them away from the computer and getting into a book – looking at the pictures and other images,” Gailey said. “It helps with their comprehension so much more than just an e-book.”

Another perk to offering curbside: “I’m excited to get the books out. Sometimes I get a peek at the kids in the car and can wave and say ‘hi.’ We miss each other.”

Third-grader Randy Culpepper was eager to check out library books this week. He and his mom, KVIA weather forecaster Nichole Gomez, picked-up superhero books curbside from Gailey this week.

“I like to read superhero books because superheroes have superpowers instead of regular powers,” he said. “I like holding the book and I can lay in bed and read it before bedtime.”

Like all campuses offering curbside, social distancing and PPE are required for this contactless service. Books are to be sanitized upon delivery and return.

Newman Elementary Ruby Shivery starts her curbside service next week to an anxious bunch of students already looking at titles to select.

“I asked a fourth-grade class on why they are excited to get the library books,” Shivery said.  “One student said, ‘I can read a book without having to use my iPad and rest my eyes.’”

Shivery agrees with the need for a break from screen time and hopes the new options gets more kids to read for fun.

“Now they have the option to use eBooks, audiobooks and now actual physical books,” she said. “The more options for our readers, the better they will feel comfortable in finding their favorite books.”

Beyond the need for a break from the digital world, Gailey hopes the books give students an escape from the realities of today.

“Books can take you so many places,” she said. “You can create a movie in your mind, going on a journey or an adventure. It will take you away from the chaos going on right now.”

Campuses offering curbside or plan to offer it soon include: Aoy, Barron, Bliss, Bond, Clendenin, Collins, Crockett, Hart, Logan, Mesita, Moreno, Powell, Putnam, Rusk, Stanton, Sunrise Mountain, White, Newman, Hillside, Nixon, Tom Lea and Rivera elementary schools; Charles, Terrace Hills, Wiggs, Brown, Young Women’s/Armendariz, Canyon Hills, Hornedo and Morehead middle schools; and El Paso, Irvin, Jefferson, Burges, Coronado and Chapin high schools. Check with your school for times and days the service is available.

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  – EPISD