Libraries team up for A Card for Every Kid
The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System is teaming up with eight other library systems in Cuyahoga County to encourage every child under 18 to get a library card.
The initiative, A Card for Every Kid, will take place Sept. 1–30 to coincide with National Library Card Sign-up Month. This cooperative effort among the library systems seeks to raise awareness of the importance of library card ownership for children and teens, and also seeks to gain a better understanding of the roadblocks that keep some children and teens from owning a library card.
“Libraries are great equalizers,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “They offer any child access to books and other learning resources no matter what city they live in, no matter their socio-economic status. Every public library in our county shares the goal of ensuring that every child can check out materials at their neighborhood library.”
During September, every library in the county will actively encourage children and teens to sign up for a free library card, and offer one-time fine forgiveness to children and teens who have been blocked or barred from using their library cards because they owe fines.
Additionally, each library system will invite parents to take a brief survey in an effort to gain a better understanding of parental attitudes toward library card ownership for their children.
“A surprising number of kids in our communities don’t have their own library cards, and we want to better understand why,” said Levin. “For instance, out of the approximately 12,000 residents under the age of 18 in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights community in 2014, roughly 6,700 had a library card. Is it because the parent didn’t know their child could have their own card? Is it because the child doesn’t want one? Are there other factors? Knowing this information will help us be more effective in our outreach to our families.”
A Card for Every Kid was developed in response to the Obama administration’s ConnectED Library Challenge. Launched in spring 2015, ConnectED calls upon library directors to work with their mayors, school leaders and school librarians to ensure that every student has access to the learning resources and books of America’s libraries.
Besides the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library system, other participants in A Card for Every Kid are: Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, East Cleveland Public Library, Euclid Public Library, Lakewood Public Library, Rocky River Public Library, Shaker Heights Public Library and Westlake Public Library. For more information, visit www.heightslibrary.org/signup_month/.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.