National Award Honors Cobb County Library Partner Vision To Learn for Community Impact
Vision To Learn is a recipient of the I Partner With My Public Library Award presented by Let’s Move in Libraries, a non-profit promoting collaboration for community health. VTL provides vision screenings, eye exams and prescription glasses to students – free of charge for the children and their families. Cobb County Public Library locations have hosted on-site mobile Vision To Learn clinics since 2018.
The first library system in Georgia to host Vision To Learn, Cobb County Public Library is the busiest VTL/public library partner in the United States. During summer break 2023 alone, VTL’s professionally trained and licensed staff provided 694 eye exams at Cobb libraries resulting in 484 children receiving new glasses. To reach students during summer break, libraries in seven states have partnered with VTL, which was founded in 2012 with one mobile clinic visiting California schools.
“Vision To Learn’s mission is to provide children with the glasses they need to succeed in school and in life,” said Vision To Learn founder Austin Beutner. “Libraries are an ideal place to help reach children and their families.”
The Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved in February $264,000 of the county’s federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation to support Vision To Learn clinics at Cobb libraries over the summer breaks of 2023-2026. The Cobb BOC also approved $247,800 for Vision To Learn’s partnership with Marietta City Schools, also for four years.
The Vision To Learn visits are part of the Cobb library’s collaboration with Learn4Life, Metro Atlanta Regional Education Partnership. L4L’s Early Literacy Change Action Network (CAN) identified Vision To Learn as a “Bright Spot” for providing underserved children meaningful outcomes to promote students’ success. Several Cobb library workers are members of L4L’s Early Literacy CAN.
The successful award nomination letter for Vision To Learn was submitted by Cobb library Communications Specialist Tom Brooks, a member of the L4L Early Literacy CAN. The award nomination to honor the charity’s work at libraries across the nation cites the advocacy of Vision To Learn professionals and supporters calling for communities to act to close the “glasses gap” of children in need to support literacy, grade-level reading and wellness.
Just as communities make sure students have food and school supplies, everywhere in the country should strive to ensure all have the glasses they need, Vision To Learn officials say.
For the inaugural year of the I Partner With My Public Library Award, 55 nominations were received from 22 states and 10 community collaborators were selected as award recipients. Registration is open for the online awards ceremony on Nov. 3 at 3 pm. To register for the event and for more information on the award, including the narrative on Vision To Learn, visit https://letsmovelibraries.org/partner-award/.