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Toledo Lucas County Public Library steps up to aid students and families with virtual learning

Celeste Felix, the regional manager for the South Branch, says libraries are providing internet, free meals and communication help for those who don't speak English.

LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — The Toledo Lucas County Public Library is stepping up to help those in our area struggling with virtual learning. 

Celeste Felix, the regional manager for South Branch, says she is aiming to make sure no student gets left behind.

Right now, virtual learning has been an uphill battle for students like Michael Jackson, a sophomore at Scott High School.

"We were, you know, never really online. So, it was hard for me to get used to," said Jackson. 

Felix says the libraries are joining efforts, so families don't feel helpless.

"Between 11 and 12 is when we see most of our young people coming in, after they have completed their virtual classes online. If they have difficulties online, they will come here and ask us if we can assist them," explained Felix. 

She also says there's been an uptick in students and families visiting the libraries, which include students learning in person. 

Angel Soto, a mother of five, says the library gives her family a sense of community. 

"The library provides internet access consistently, whether you have it at home or not. They provide computers, laptops. You know, I mean, a space to be able to sit and do homework," said Soto. 

"I just have a good relationship with the library. I mean, I just like being here 'cause it's like I know I'm safe, and everyone here is nice," added Jackson. 

The South Toledo branch and others are also providing meals during the pandemic, feeding about 85 families per day, Monday through Friday. 

And they find a way to communicate with those who don't speak English.

"We are close to Escuela Smart, which is our bilingual school for TPS. And what we find is that a lot of the Spanish speaking parents are not able to understand how to assist their children to log-in or how to get the computer to work if there's an issue," said Felix. 

Felix says part of the library's mission is helping students achieve academic success. Because when students like Jackson succeed, the entire community succeeds.

"I want to be a police officer because I like to help people. I just feel like I can change something in the world with being one," said Jackson. "And just spread love."