© 2023 WUGA | University of Georgia
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Books for Keeps Adjusts to Pandemic to Get Books to Kids


COVID-19 has changed the way a lot of industries and organizations conduct business. And that’s no different for Athens nonprofit Books for Keeps.

The agency’s model has always been to set up a free book fair in elementary schools. This year organizers have made adjustments necessary to continue its mission.

“We knew that we couldn’t skip a year of this program,” according to Hale. “We did something that honestly felt a little bit of a dream. We started building an e-commerce website for students in our Clarke County elementary schools to select their books. They essentially were invited to go shopping for their free books.”

Students choose eight books and four are selected for them.

Hale has also packed and delivered books herself. She says the impact of summer slide will only be magnified by the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“In a normal summer, students can lose up to three months in reading achievement. There have been researchers who have already started stated looking at what will the impact be of this lost time in school and instead of summer slide, they’re calling it COVID slide. Researchers are saying that students may be losing up to 50% of their school year gains in reading.”

Books for Keeps expects to wrap up this year’s effort at the end of this month. The organization serves 14 schools in Clarke County, along with downtown academy, as well as five schools in Warren, Elbert and Fulton counties. Books for Keeps partnered with a wholesale bookseller to get books to students outside of Clarke County.

Visit BooksforKeeps.org for more information or books.