City Highlights Library And Parks Services For Burbank Unified Students

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The Burbank Central Library's Spark! lab opened in January 2020. (Photo By Ross Benson)

The City of Burbank provides a host of services available specifically for Burbank Unified students and seeks to make those students and families aware of those opportunities, Library and Parks officials told City Council and the Board of Education at the annual joint meeting held on Tuesday, June 8. The Library and Parks departments also provide a wide variety of services available to the general population of the City.

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“A few years back, [City Council] gave staff direction to create the BConnectED partnership which turns every BUSD school i.d. into a library card automatically,” commented Library Services Director Elizabeth Goldman. “That program has been a great success, starting with sixth-graders a few years ago and expanding to all grades in the year just ended.”

“In the past year, in a response to the disruption in schooling, we added the service HelpNow, which offers students live one on one tutoring seven days a week in any subject K-12 along with the chance to have papers reviewed, get help with financial aid forms and practice tests for the SAT and similar exams.”

She also noted the Spark! Digital Media Lab at the Burbank Central Library has reopened after being closed during the pandemic. The lab is available by reservation for in person services to Burbank community members age 14 and up.

Goldman outlined the ways Library and Parks officials have been communicating with BUSD librarians and staff and Council PTA in an effort to reach all Burbank Unified students and families.

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“We acknowledge that despite all our efforts, there are still many students and parents who aren’t aware of the resources available to them through City departments,” she said.

Board of Education members mentioned that BUSD will be able to provide a laptop or Chromebook for every Burbank Unified student grades six and up beginning in the 2021-22 school year. Board Clerk Steve Ferguson emphasized the need for wifi access at all City parks and recreation centers, in an effort to increase student use of those facilities.

“Most of our parks do have wifi,” commented Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director Marisa Garcia. “It is the City’s goal that all of our parks will have wifi in the very near future.”

Mayor Bob Frutos mentioned that it was Ferguson’s idea for creating the student i.d. that could also be used a library card, and encouraged the younger members of City Council and Board of Education to keep presenting their ideas to their colleagues.

Image Courtesy Burbank Public Library.

According to Goldman and Garcia, “Many resources available via the Library and Parks Departments are accessible to all students, regardless of whether they have a Library card. Library resources are publicized via information sent to all students as part of the BConnectED program. Library and Parks resources are also publicized on the departments’ respective websites, and staff regularly engage in outreach to schools and other groups serving students.”

From Goldman and Garcia’s report, Library and Parks student resources include:

The following resources are available to students via the Library:

Highspeed internet on computers and ability to print (requires Library card)

Highspeed internet via wifi inside and in adjacent outdoor areas of all Library locations

A collection of more than 500,000 books, eBooks and other material

Study spaces for individual and group work at all Library locations

Online resources including live oneonone homework help offered seven days a week, research materials for class projects, language learning,and test preparation materials

Specialized technology for developing skills or completing projects in the Spark! Digital Media Lab at the Central Library

Free programs focused on reading and literacy, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) learning, socialemotional learning and life skills

Expert assistance from Library staff inperson or via email

The following resources are available to students via Parks:

Recreational class offerings in diverse areas such as art, music, sports, and more. On average, 200 youth classes are offered each season in winter, spring, summer and fall.

The Youth Art Expo is an annual event open to all Burbank students in grades TK12 with the goal to recognize the artistic talent of our youth. Students may submit one piece of art with a chance to be selected as a featured artist. Over 1,000 submissions are received each year for this event.

Afterschool Daze program for children in grades TK5 at eight elementary schools including: Bret Harte, Edison, Emerson, McKinley, Miller, Providencia, Roosevelt, and Stevenson.

The CounselorinTraining summer program gives High School students the opportunity to earn service learning hours as well as gain work experience in the field of recreation, administration, and child development.

The Burbank Youth Board provides middle and high school students the opportunity to actively engage in local government. The Youth Board is comprised of seventeen members; eleven members are annually selected by their school and six members are selected through an interview process.

The Youth Leadership Program is a free program for high school students. Students meet for nine interactive sessions from November through March, and are presented topics including but notlimited to, Leadership 101, Environmental Responsibility, Financial Management, Value of Teamwork, and Burbank City Resources.

More information on the Burbank Public Library and their services can be found on their website. For more information on the services and programs through Burbank Parks and Recreation, visit their website.

The video and agenda for the June 8 joint Burbank City Council and Burbank Board of Education meeting can be viewed online here.

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