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Liftoff to Learning

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Liftoff to Learning

Houston Public Library, Texas

Education - Children & Adults | 2020 | Top Innovator

Innovation Synopsis

Liftoff to Learning was an innovative initiative launched as a call to action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital divide. A first of its kind library/television station partnership in the city, the initiative featured educational videos reimagined for a 12-week televised series for learners without home computer and internet access.


Through inception, Liftoff to Learning afforded the opportunity to address the following challenges:

  • Digital inequities in Houston’s largest school district, including 180,000 homes without computers and 210,000 homes without broadband.
  • Compounded learning loss due to “summer slide” and COVID-19 school disruptions with significant threat for pre-K through 3rd grade learners.
  • Providing access to and awareness of available programs/services/resources during COVID-19 for all HPL customers.
  • Reaching children in homes that have access to local TV but not home computers.

Key Elements of Innovation

Key elements of Liftoff to Learning:

  • Mobilized staff to reimagine roles, repurpose talents/skills and reinvent programming designed for in-person learning to online, constructed for TV
  • Public/private partners included Mayor Turner, KHOU 11, Houston TV
  • Production of 48, five-minute videos featuring library programs (Storytime, STEM), services (HPL To Go) and resources (Brainfuse, Learning Link Card) aimed at students (K-3), parents and teachers
  • KHOU airing of series 6/15-9/3; Mon-Thurs at 9:52 a.m. following Great Day Houston

Achieved Outcomes

Liftoff to Learning achievements:

  • Created pathway for media partnerships/models
  • Citywide impact: Reached 24 million TV viewers and 89 million viewers across all platforms
  • Sustained impact via re-airing on KHOU/HTV reaching 17.2 million viewers weekly
  • Media visibility resulted in new Comcast PSA and HTV show
  • Elevated profile of HPL in role as a community leader
  • Curated robust video library and gained new knowledge/skills of benefit beyond COVID-19
  • Airing new virtual summer reading/camp programs maximized impact beyond 2,000 K-12 registrants