NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) – The Newark Public Library and Newark Public Schools are working together to promote the importance of lifelong learning during the month of registration for the National Library Card.
One by one, excited third graders lined up to receive library cards. For many, it’s their first.
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“Now I can go to libraries and get books to improve my grades,” said one boy.
“I never knew what the possibilities were when you got a library card,” said one girl.
The students were about 30 from Elliott Street School who were given cards through a joint initiative between the library and the school district, reports Kiran Dhillon of CBSN New York.
Library officials said this was a way to make cards more accessible to students.
Soon every public student and teacher in the district – 45,000 total – will be given a library card.
The aim of the program is to foster a love of learning and reading.
According to the city, Newark ranks in the bottom 6% of all New Jersey school districts for literacy. The void leads to lifelong economic and social consequences. For this reason, the partnership is specifically aimed at third graders like those at Elliott Street School.
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As part of the initiative, every third grader in the district will take an excursion to local libraries by the end of the school year. The aim is to familiarize students with all of the library’s resources.
Teachers applaud the program and say the impact a library has on a child’s life is astronomical.
“They can use the computer, they can watch videos, they can read books, and many of our students don’t always know it,” said one teacher.
The students are already discovering the magic of the written word.
“We can see new books you’ve always wanted and new books you’ve read before, but if you’ve lost it and want to read it again, it might be here,” said one young girl.
“Some books are funny. Some books are creative. Some books are fiction. Some books are non-fiction. I love the way books are, ”said one boy.
Students say they will be back in the library soon with their new cards.
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The rest of the Newark students should have their cards in the next few weeks.