Making A Difference Together: Winnetka librarian starts a virtual book club to stay connected to her students


With the closure of schools and public places due to COVID-19, daily family routines have changed in most households. There is now more time to spend with family, so it’s important to create a routine to make the days a little more fun and educational for everyone at home.

Mary Martinez, a librarian at Winnetka Elementary School, had the great idea of starting a Virtual Book Club to stay connected to her students, maintain a weekly routine and have them listen to a story read aloud.

“My goal is to provide some normality to my students as they adjust to not being at school, and also to share my appreciation to them for being interested in reading time, and show them how proud I am of them,” Martinez said.

More than 70 students in grades kinder through 5th are participating and enjoying the 30 minutes of virtual story time. Martinez is inspiring students and parents to engage in story time as a family. Students also are excited to see a familiar face and have an opportunity to listen to a story just as if they are at school. They enjoy expressing their thoughts about the story by drawing pictures and writing.

Too Many Carrots, Show me the Bunny and Thumper and the Egg are just some of the books that Martinez has read to students.

“The books selected express a common theme that is to share, show kindness, and help your neighbor,” Martinez said. “Hopefully, it helps my students understand that despite all the uncertainty in our community, people are good, and we have each other to help get through this interruption in our lives.”

“Parents love seeing our librarian read a story and they appreciate the opportunity for their children to be engaged in reading,” added Principal Lourdes Garduño. “It also brought some routine and normalcy back in the middle of the crisis we are facing. They feel a part of the school, and for their children to be able to reconnect with other students at Winnetka is very valuable. Students look forward to seeing each other and Ms. Martinez every week!”

Thank you, Ms. Martinez, for helping us in Making a Difference Together!


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