When the world changed in 2020 due to the pandemic, the DeKalb County Public Library (DCPL) and the DeKalb Library Foundation looked for new ways to continue to support the community which needed them more than ever. Through the efforts of the Foundation and generous donors, financial support remained strong allowing DCPL to be innovative in interacting with the community.
DCPL is the only library in DeKalb County to support student teams in the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, a statewide reading competition. Since 2019, DCPL librarians coach elementary, middle and high school teams of students from across DeKalb County. Students read select award winning titles and compete in a quiz bowl format by answering questions about the books. DCPL was pleased to be able to continue to provide this support when the reading competition transitioned into a virtual setting.
Preparation for the bowl begins about six months prior to the competition and includes reading ten to twenty books. Students meet weekly with their librarian and practice answering questions with the required buzzers. All this hard work pays off! DCPL has had teams place in the top three each year. The reading bowl was held virtually in 2021, and the DCPL elementary team placed 3rd in the DeKalb competition. The DeKalb Library Foundation provides the funds to cover all the books the students read, the buzzers, headsets, entry fees, t‑shirts, and the end-of-season celebration. A participating family member recently thanked the Foundation for its support, “I am very thankful to the foundation for supplying copies of these great books for the kids to keep. The library’s reading bowl team is a wonderful, free enrichment activity for my kids. They have enjoyed the books, meeting new friends, and participating in some healthy competition.”