Since the start of the coronavirus closures in March 2020, Councilmember Will Jawando has been live streaming videos of himself and guests reading children’s books.
“Virtual Storytime with Councilmember Jawando” launched in March 2020 after schools were abruptly closed and families were adjusting to virtual learning. One year into the pandemic, Jawando has filmed more than 90 episodes. When the series started, Jawando streamed new episodes on his Facebook and YouTube page every weekday. Now, the effort has become a collaboration between Montgomery County Public Libraries, and new episodes are less frequent, but Jawando tries to premiere new episodes at 11:30 a.m. on Fridays.
“It’s been a great experience,” Jawando told MyMCM. “When I got elected I didn’t think I’d be doing 90 virtual storytimes, but you know, we have to do what we can to help the community whatever way we can.”
The series has featured appearances from high profile guests like author Ibram X. Kendi who wrote “How to Be An Antiracist” and “Antiracist Baby”; gold medal-winning Olympic athletes like swimmer Katie Ledecky of Bethesda and gymnast Dominique Dawes of Silver Spring; local politicians from Jawando’s fellow councilmembers to U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md. 8); and many others.
Jawando, who serves as the lead councilmember for libraries, has also resumed his MCPL library tours. Before the pandemic, Jawando had made it through touring about half of the libraries in the county, and at the end of the tour, he would hold a town hall with the local community.
He recently started his library tours up again in a virtual formal. Most recently, he toured the Olney Library and held a discussion with leaders from the library.
The public library buildings in Montgomery County remain closed, with the exception of borrowing books placed on hold. MCPL is continuing to work on its reopening plans.
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