Frequently Asked Questions About DIBS
My school needs DIBS - how can I sign-up?
Please reach us via our contact form. DIBS is enthusiastic about providing its technology to anyone who sees the value in it and would be happy to talk with teachers, principals, or parents interested in bringing it to their school.
Will DIBS serve schools with a poverty rate below 70%?
Yes. While our primary goal is to reach all of Omaha Public Schools’ 44 elementary schools with a poverty rate above 70%, we are also interested in helping build excitement for in-home reading within school communities all across the country, regardless of location or poverty rate. By subscribing to DIBS, any school can gain full access to our software which will support better book distribution within its classrooms. Your subscription to DIBS is then helping fund enhancements to our technology, helping further sustain our cause. Educators who are interested in exploring DIBS’ fit within their schools – regardless of their school’s poverty rate or location – should reach out via our contact form.
Does DIBS replace school libraries?
No. DIBS’ in-classroom libraries are meant to complement rather than replace existing school libraries by focusing on the reading needs of K-2 students. A weekly visit to the school library effectively serves the needs of older students whose basic proficiency means they can access books which take one to several weeks to read and which may be higher than their ability level. However, K-2 students are less equipped to navigate books above their reading abilities and typically enjoy books short enough to read in one day. Consequently, a K-2 student is best served by a DIBS library they can visit everyday to check-out a single book highly targeted to their reading level.
Does DIBS use e-books?
No. Although e-readers provide more ‘books’ than an in-classroom library, DIBS believes physical books are best suited to cultivate student passion for reading during their crucial early years, or in settings where access to digital devices is limited. The strongest argument against physical books are bent pages and scuffed corners because a child read it so many times. E-readers are less able to instill both an emotional and physical attachment to books, which, especially affect younger readers who are often more inspired by these factors than older individuals.
In addition to fostering student connection to reading at a young age, physical books contain fewer distractions and more opportunities for parent-child interaction. While not all e-books are interactive, younger students may pay more attention to sounds and moving images in some e-books than gaining valuable experience understanding narrative arcs and character development.
Why do we need your software?
Many teachers manage to send home books with their students without the assistance of check-in/check-out software. Nonetheless, DIBS is confident many more books would go home with many more students while taking something off these teachers’ plates if they utilized DIBS’ software. DIBS software is kid friendly such that students are able to check books in and out with minimal adult intervention. Meanwhile, student checkout histories allow the teacher to instantly learn who has which books checked out and to identify patterns of student reading interests.
Do you take book donations?
Yes! Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and send us a description of the books (how many, what condition, roughly what grade-level, etc.) and we can help you determine if they are a good fit for a DIBS classroom. You can also refer to our Book Donation Guidelines page to learn more about the types of books we are seeking.
Who pays for DIBS?
DIBS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit funded by a combination of grants and donations from local foundations, local businesses, and generous individual donors. Our long-term goal is to build a diverse, sustainable funding-base that allows DIBS to expand to all 44 elementary schools with a poverty rate over 70% in the Omaha Public Schools system. To accomplish this goal, we are experimenting with other revenue sources which could help further diversify and sustain our program. Most notably: 1) Our Ambassadors program aims to better enlist individual donors who want to support our cause, 2) We are now offering our software to schools on a subscription-basis as a way to reach more students and generate critical revenue and excitement for our cause.
How do you know kids are actually reading?
In addition to tracking student participation in daily book checkouts on our internal software dashboards, DIBS also enlisted volunteers in following up with students about their reading with a few quick comprehension questions. These student pullouts not only demonstrated a high level of actual reading for students––roughly 80% of students surveyed read their DIBS book the night before––but also led to higher rates of student participation in subsequent student pullouts. Still, this is a question we wrestle with everyday, and we are working on building better ways to ensure students are supported to read, understand and enjoy their books every night.
Who works at DIBS?
DIBS’ founder David Orrick is the only salaried employee at DIBS for Kids. Other staff members include parents compensated hourly for assisting at DIBS school sites and AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service.
What does your team do all day?
It doesn’t take long for students to check books in and out everyday. In fact, students are so good at it they rarely ever need help from us or our parent liaisons. When we return to the office, there isn’t much else to do in regards to sending books home that day. So we turn our focus to the future and consider how DIBS might support more schools to successfully support in-home reading. This includes hosting fundraisers, writing grants, talking to school administrators, staff and community leaders, identifying high poverty schools where we could have the greatest impact, and sharing our efforts via social media.