BYRON, Ill. — As local educators face unprecedented challenges from COVID-19, Exelon Generation’s Byron Station is stepping up to help, providing eight local libraries with $500 each for additional summer reading and educational programs. Byron also awarded Bertolet Memorial Library and the Oregon Public Library funds to upgrade public computer areas in their facilities.
“We’re a small public library but we have a wonderful group of residents who use our facilities regularly, and the additional funds have come at a perfect time for us,” said Linda Schreiber, director of the Bertolet Library in Leaf River. “We were able to upgrade our computer stations, and we now have seven spots for library users, though it’s down to four due to the pandemic.”
COVID-19 has caused library districts to rethink summer programs and come up with new ways to allow users to have a great library experience while staying safe. Many libraries have reopened, some with partial service and curbside pickup. Take-home STEM kits are very popular. All libraries are doing the best they can in these unique conditions.
“Due to the pandemic we shifted our summer reading program to an online format that included games and activities,” said Debbie Herman of the Oregon Public Library. “The donation we received helped us modify the program to include virtual links to Absolute Science shows and prizes for those who complete their reading goals. It has been a challenging but rewarding experience.”
Since the pandemic began, Byron Station and its employees have been looking for ways to assist affected communities. Last month, employees raised more than $35,000 for two dozen local food banks. Now – the focus shifts to the education of the area’s youth.
“Our educators are doing a great job coming up with new and inventive ways to give children additional educational opportunities during the pandemic,” said Byron Station Site Vice President Mark Kanavos. “We’re proud to support this effort to keep our local students engaged, interested in reading and participating in all that public libraries have to offer.”
Byron Generating Station made donations to the following libraries:
Bertolet Memorial Library (Leaf River), Byron Public Library, Flagg/Rochelle Public Library, Forreston Public Library, Julia Hull Public Library (Stillman Valley/Davis Junction), Mt. Morris Public Library, Oregon Public Library and Polo Public Library.
Byron Generating Station is in Ogle County, Ill., about 20 miles southwest of Rockford. With both units at full power, the site produces almost 2,500 megawatts, enough electricity to power more than 2 million average American homes.