The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation knows that school libraries matter.
Why do we support school libraries?
- School libraries are an equity issue: Families with fewer resources rely on school libraries to help their children succeed in school. School libraries offer access to printed, audio and electronic resources that create opportunities for students who might not otherwise have access.
- School libraries drive academic achievement: Studies consistently show that students in schools with well-staffed, stocked, and funded libraries score from 10% to 25% higher on standardized tests than students in schools with poorly resourced libraries. We also know that improved literacy and reading skills can enhance a child’s abilities in all aspects of their studies. (School libraries and student achievement in Ontario, OLA, 2006)
- School libraries reflect student identities and promote diversity:
There is a saying that books are both “windows and mirrors.” They are windows because a book can inspire a child to discover new worlds and build empathy for different perspectives. They are mirrors because they also offer children the chance to see their own identities represented, and to see positive role models that will impact them for years to come. Through diverse, culturally authentic materials in library collections children meet people like themselves and completely unlike themselves, both of which help them appreciate and value diversity. (The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children, 2014)
- School libraries enhance mental health: Books and library spaces are a source of reassurance and comfort, and contribute to children’s better mental health and participation in school. (The Mindful Library: A Path to student well-being, mental health literacy, and mindfulness in the library and learning commons)
Why are school libraries at risk?
Since the 1990’s, government funding to support Canadian school libraries and teacher-librarians has been in decline. For schools in higher socio-economic neighbourhoods, these cuts are supplemented by the fundraising efforts of parents or by the robust libraries children have access to in their own homes. However, relying on parents puts children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds at a disadvantage. If children miss those early opportunities to transition from learning to read to reading to learn, that has the potential to create a domino effect, impacting all areas of their education and future opportunities. (The Crisis in Canada’s School Libraries: the Case for reform and re-investment, 2003)
How have the challenges of the Covid-19 global pandemic exacerbated the decline in support for school libraries?
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened an already precarious situation for school libraries. Across many jurisdictions in Canada, school library professionals have been re-assigned, library staff have been laid off, and access to library spaces, books and resources have been cut off to students because the health and safety restrictions were simply too onerous. There is a real risk that even after schools reopen and return to “normal,” the funding cuts that were made during the pandemic may never be restored.
“Quality school library programs have never been more essential.” Statement on the Role of School Libraries During the Pandemic (2020)- Canadian School Libraries
How The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Helps
The Adopt a School Program is designed to raise both awareness about the importance of school libraries and much-needed funds to better resource these critical learning spaces. This cause is more important than ever as so many school libraries across Canada have been shut down or working with reduced capacity during the pandemic. School libraries need our help to build back better!
How It Works
Between September and October each Indigo, Chapters, Indigospirit, and Coles location across Canada partners with a local (or remote) high-needs elementary school to support them through in-store fundraising. Every dollar raised through the campaign period goes directly to that store location’s partner school. This year’s campaign will be running from September 12th – October 2nd, 2022.
At the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, we recognize that many schools across Canada are fundraising each and every day to support programs like their school libraries. This approach is highly effective when parents and families have the capacity to support. However, in underserved communities across Canada experiencing marginalization for various systemic reasons, fundraising is not always possible at the scale schools require. That is why we gear this program towards schools in neighbourhoods with demonstrated financial need.
Generally, an eligible school receives at least 80% of its funding from the provincial or federal government and serve students in at least one of the following grades: Junior Kindergarten, Senior Kindergarten, and Grades 1 through Grade 8. If more than 20% of school funding comes from other sources, please reach out to the Indigo Love of Reading team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that schools that are actively receiving a Literacy Fund Grant from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation are not eligible to participate in the Adopt a School program. Additionally, schools that were selected as 2021 Adopt a School participants are welcome to apply this year, however preference will be given to schools with outstanding applications who have not participated previously. This decision was made to provide support to as many schools across Canada as possible.
What are we eligible to receive if our application is approved and our school is partnered with a store?
100% of the funds raised by each school’s partner store between September 12th – October 2nd , 2022 will go towards books for school and classroom libraries. Funds will be provided in the form of an Indigo e-gift card or Indigo corporate account for your school depending on the issued dollar amount. Indigo provides a 30% discount on the list price on books to all schools that participate in the Adopt A School program when they are using funds raised during the program. The deadline to spend down all funds will be December 31, 2023.
Step 1: Please view the complete list of Adopt A School grant questions on this editable application worksheet, which you can download here. You can use the worksheet to fill out your responses in advance of submitting your answers on the online application.
Please note: This worksheet cannot be uploaded to the online portal, nor emailed to us as an official application. All responses must be entered directly into the online application form in one sitting.
Step 2: When you are ready with your responses, complete and submit this application by Sunday May 1st , 2022.
Step 3: You will be notified in early June with your status. In the event that your application has been approved and you have been paired with a store, a participation agreement will be sent to your school principal to be signed by the end of the school year.
Event conditionality: Please be advised that the health and safety of Indigo staff and their customers, as well as store capacities will always be our top priority. The running of the Adopt A School program will be contingent on the basis that it is safe to do and logistically possible during the run of the Adopt A School campaign period mid-September to early-October in your province, territory, or region.
Indigo Books and Music, as well as the Indigo Love of the Reading Foundation will continue to adhere to prescribed health and safety conditions and restrictions across the country as the COVID-19 pandemic situation evolves.