Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can Lunch at the Library award funds be used for virtual programming?
Lunch at the Library funds are intended to:
- support libraries in supplying nutrition/meals to children and teens in low income communities
- connect these children and teens and their families to the resources of the library with the purpose of providing opportunities for learning, exploration and enrichment.
We realize that COVID-19 restrictions pose challenges. We ask that libraries focus on spending funds in ways that will most directly serve the children and teens receiving free meals at library and community grab-and-go sites and to be mindful of those that are not digitally connected.
- If you feel that your digital program idea will be accessible to, and is designed with the families receiving free summer meals in mind, a portion of your funds may go towards virtual programming (including the purchase of equipment needed to create a digital program). If there is an alternate stream of funds available for these purchases, we ask that you rely on those funds.
- If Lunch at the Library funds are your only means to create digital programming and you opt to use a portion of these funds to create digital programming, you are required to promote these digital programs to the children, teens and families at free meal sites. You may use a portion of your funds for this promotion. Any digital programming created using Lunch at the Library funds must include information about where families can get free meals in the community so that your virtual programs clearly connect to Lunch at the Library program efforts. (This information can be shared prior to or just following the program.)
- Please be mindful of ensuring that the greatest portion of your funds go to directly connecting children and teens with meals, and connecting the children, teens and families that participate in meal programs with learning and enrichment opportunities. Activities such as free book giveaways, providing outreach materials promoting your libraries existing digital programs and resources or summer reading program, take-away activities, paper summer reading logs/game boards, etc. will ensure that what you are providing is getting into the hands of those children, teens and families in greatest need.
Question: Can Lunch at the Library award funds be used to purchase an online summer reading platform such as Beanstack, Bookpoints, Wandoo Reader, or READsquared?
Lunch at the Library award funds should not be used to purchase an online summer reading platform. The California State Library and CLA have partnered with Beanstack to offer all California public libraries a free Beanstack subscription. For more information and to sign up, please visit: https://calchallenge.org/beanstack-literacy-tool/