Cedar Rapids Public Library new “tech van” expands reach to serve underserved communities, address Summer learning loss

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Like many parents, Tamara Strecker says the inconsistency of this year, switching between virtual, and in-person learning was difficult on her kids.

“It’s just been so hard with just having small groups and just the worry about COVID,” said Strecker.

With summer now here, she wants to help her 9-year-old catch up on things he missed out on this year.

“When my older son was in third grade, he actually had a technology class that was after school. My son who just finished third grade right now, obviously, his school couldn’t provide that because of COVID so that opportunity was lost,” she said.

That’s one of the reasons they were at Jacolyn Park Monday afternoon. Alongside the city’s Rollin Recmobile this year will be the library’s new mobile technology van.

“This is our opportunity to really reach our public with a lot of the fun things in the library has to offer,” said Programming Manager Kevin Delicki. “We’re hoping to get people access to different types of robotics from little kids all the way up to adults. We have circuitry. We have soldering kits. We have podcasting equipment, and laptops.”

Parents can also register for their summer DARE program, aimed at combatting summer learning loss.

“Kids have had such a difficult year with school being interrupted, then being at home and not at home and it can really be disengaging from the joy that can especially come from reading,” Delicki said.

Delicki says the goal with the van is to get these resources to underserved communities. The van will be at four parks weekly this Summer, and plan is to keep it going into the Fall.

“We hope bringing the technology that’s on the van into classrooms, schools and into work places and really start connecting people with those new and emerging technologies and those workplace development skills even at a really young age,” Delicki said.

People can see a full list of where the van will be throughout the Summer on the library’s website.

Copyright 2021 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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