I am a devoted tutor in the GO (Golden Opportunity) program, and have been for eight years. After teaching in Lansing Middle School for 35 years, I found 'retirement' pretty challenging. I didn't know what to do with the 'teacher toolbox' I had built. Since my teaching began in 1970, technology confounded me, and it didn't synch with the social and emotional work I believed my students needed. When Covid shut our schools down in early March of 2020, I was devastated. Though my colleagues tried hard to teach me to 'Zoom', I rebelled against it, as did the students I was tutoring. Whenever possible, I taught outside in backyards or driveways. But an even larger question was how and where I could locate books to read to and with my students. Through that awful time, our public library made everything possible. All I had to do was phone the circulation desk and say "I'm working with a struggling 4th grade reader who only wants to read books about sports", drive down to the library, phone from one of the stanchions erected by the library and out would come a library staff member with a whole bag of appropriate books. I could even get two copies of books my students were willing to read, so that we could read together successfully. Often, I would deliver library books and related reading activities to a child's mailbox on the roadside, and pick up completed materials. We could read to one another by Zoom when we had to.
None of this could have happened without the generosity. creativity and thoughtfulness of our library staff. Through that dark time, they were there to help our children and teachers who were trying to stay afloat. As we have moved through this pandemic, we are seeing that there were many heroes. Tompkins County Library staff were certainly exactly that for me and my tutored students. I am honored to help raise money to help them continue to help all of us.