AFAC Receives Summer Reading Challenge Donation

Published on September 16, 2021

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, representatives of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library (FOAL), together with the Arlington Public Library and Arlington County Department of Technology Services, presented a check for $4,525 to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC).

The donation represents the number of Library readers who successfully completed the 2021 Summer Reading Challenge. The Library's popular Summer Reading program helps children avoid the "summer slide," and reintroduces youth and adults to the joy of reading.

"We are delighted that the donation will assist AFAC in their mission to provide Arlington residents in need with dignified access to nutritious food," said Kelly Fado, president of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library.

AFAC has been distributing groceries to families in need every week in Arlington since 1988 and provided 3 million pounds of food to underserved communities in FY 2020.

"We are thankful for being part of this fantastic program that encourages people of all ages to continue reading and to help us feed our neighbors in need," said Charles Meng, Chief Executive Officer at AFAC.

This year, Summer Reading participants benefited from an enhanced Library app upgrade which enabled readers to manage multiple reading logs within one Library account and to track their reading progress.

"Now more than ever, we are finding new ways to innovate and use technology to help address systemic challenges and serve the greater good," said Jack Belcher, Chief Information Officer and Director for the Department of Technology. "The work on this app is a great example of our commitment to being a driver for solutions that help Arlington tackle issues whether it is literacy and learning, digital equity or food insecurity."

Since its inception, the Library app has been downloaded more than 42,000 times. App users can use the technology for easy account management, catalog search and meeting room bookings.

"We are fortunate to have partners like the DTS staff who understand what public service is. The app increases our ability to reach patrons and made a big difference with our Summer Reading programs," said Diane Kresh, Director, Arlington Public Library.

The app, which was developed by the Arlington County Department of Technology Services in cooperation with the Library, uses enterprise data, resulting in a valuable digital service for residents that also saves the County money by eliminating vendor-related costs and future maintenance needs.

Visit the Library's website for a full list of app features and to download the app.