Kids' fines forgiven during library card sign-up month
For the second consecutive year, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System is teaming up with eight other library systems to help ensure that every child under 18 years old in Cuyahoga County has a library card—and can use it.
The initiative, A Card for Every Kid Library Challenge, will take place during National Library Card Sign-up Month (Sept. 1–30, 2017). The challenge is a cooperative effort to raise awareness of the importance of library card ownership, and to understand the factors that keep some children and teens from owning a library card.
This September, every library in Cuyahoga County will actively work to encourage all students to sign up for free library cards, so they can gain access to the abundance of books and learning resources available in the county’s libraries.
Children younger than 18 who already own library cards, but owe fines, will be invited to take advantage of one-time fine forgiveness anytime during National Library Card Sign-up Month.
“There’s a reason Library Card Sign-up Month happens in September,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “A library card is the most important, and most effective, school supply a child can have. Through this initiative, we want to reduce the roadblocks that keep so many kids in our communities from owning and using library cards. Whether it's fines or lack of awareness or some other factor, we want to raise awareness and clear a path for every child to check out materials and access learning resources.”
Last September, across Cuyahoga County, more than 9,100 library cardholders participated in the fine-forgiveness program, and more than 4,000 new library cards were issued by the participating libraries. Four months after the new cards were issued, 80 percent of the children who received them visited a local library.
The nine libraries participating in the A Card for Every Kid Library Challenge are Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, East Cleveland Public Library, Euclid Public Library, Heights Libraries (Cleveland Heights-University Heights), Lakewood Public Library, Rocky River Public Library, Shaker Heights Public Library and Westlake Porter Public Library.
For more information about the A Card for Every Kid Library Challenge, stop in at any Heights Libraries branch, or visit www.heightslibrary.org/signup_month.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.