Why Libraries Matter: Virginia Beach Public Library plays a critical, strategic role in our community. The library is no longer a quiet place to do research and pick up books; our branches are vibrant centers of learning, creativity and sharing. The residents of Virginia Beach come to the library to read and to study, but also to attend preschool pretend play programs or the English Conversation Club. To learn how to use the latest technology or how to turn an old t-shirt into a tote bag. To get help with a resume or to pick up a voter registration form. From early literacy education and the Summer Reading Challenge to workforce development and technology assistance, the library offers something for every single member of our community. In short Virginia Beach Public Library is so much more than just books, it is a destination where people come to work and play! Our Work Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we provided thousands of dollars for special programs, materials, and technology for Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL) each year. In FY 2020-2021 we granted over $75,000 for VBPL programs and resources, all of which the library could not have afforded with its operating budget alone. These opportunities included: Summer Reading Challenge – VBPL’s most popular annual literacy program encourages youth and teens to read for pleasure during the summer to prevent the learning loss that can happen when school is out of session. Participants receive prizes, including books to keep, as incentives for reaching reading milestones. “Virginian-Pilot” digital historical archive—VBPL is the only public library in Hampton Roads that provides digital access to historic issues of the “Virginian-Pilot.” VBLF provided funding to make more issues available for free with your library account. StoryWalks®—Combining reading and movement, a StoryWalk® shares a picture book story through a series of signs along a path. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson. This fun outdoor program was funded through the Sadler Early Literacy Endowment. Battle of the Books virtual author talks—The Battle of the Books is a game show-style reading challenge where teams of fifth graders and middle schoolers read pre-selected books and compete to answer questions about them. Two virtual talks gave students the opportunity to interact with authors whose books they read during the competition. Orangeboy Savannah—This cloud-based library management and marketing software helps libraries better understand how their customers use library services. VBPL uses data collected by the program to better allocate resources and notify customers about programs and services. We also apply for grants from external organizations on behalf of Virginia Beach Public Library. These grants allow the library to offer our community unique opportunities that it could not otherwise afford. In FY 2020-202 we administered grants from American Library Association, the E. C. Wareheim Foundation, the TowneBank Foundation, and VB Home Now, Inc.