Proud to Support Reading Initiatives That Transform the Lives of Underserved Children

Long before social distancing, Multnomah County Library had been strategizing as to the best way to reach children at the greatest risk of academically falling behind their peers. Since 2016, The Olseth Family Foundation has supported programs which have excelled at accomplishing this goal. Three examples are: the Every Child is a Reader program, which has touched over 32,000 children; the A Book is a Bridge program, which ensures that incarcerated parents have an assortment of books to read to their children during prison visits; and increasing the total number of multicultural children’s books available in a variety of languages.

Recently, Multnomah County Library launched Library Connect, an innovative new service which connects all K-12 students in five school districts (80,000 students and more than 5,500 educators) to a full array of library programs and services. The students will be able to access personal tutoring, homework help, math coaching, online databases, digital books, magazines, newspapers and audiobooks from home and the classroom, whether they have a library card or not. Multnomah County Library has also coordinated the distribution of Mini-Maker Kits, developed by the team at the Rockwood Makerspace. These grab-and-go resources feature an array of hands-on projects that school age children and teens can build and create at home to learn key STEAM concepts and skills such as robotics, physics, and engineering.

The Multnomah County Library Foundation strengthens the community by creating and testing literacy and multicultural programs and initiatives that make a meaningful difference and ensure a bright future for children and families at risk for low literacy.