Literacy for Life: Program hands out thousands of library card to Carson students
By Teri Vance
The drive to give every Carson City student a library card as part of the Literacy for Life initiative has yielded some impressive results so far.
“Our library card initiative is going just great,” said Sara Jones, director of the Carson City Library. “We are seeing a really large increase in library use as a result.”
The initiative began in early October and will continue through February as Youth Services Librarian Amber Sady visits every school in the district handing out library cards and explaining the services available there.
During October, 2,119 cards were distributed, nearly as many as were issued in the all of 2008.
“We now have 32,318 people who have a Carson City Library card – nearly 60 percent of the population,” Jones said.
Not only have students received cards, they also are using them.
Jones said 33,425 books were circulated in October, compared with the average 25,730 books circulated in the same month for the past three years.
It falls just short of the highest number in history, when 34,146 books were checked out last March during the Community Read.
Sady said she has seen more students in the library as well.
“It has been crazy busy,” she said. “It has taken two librarians to work the youth services desk. Our numbers have doubled for our programs.”
She said an unprecedented 120 kids turned out for a library activity last weekend.
It helps, she said, that she’s been able to go to every site herself to introduce the program and hand out cards.
“It’s been wonderful to see all the kids,” she said. “They come to the library, and they recognize me so they’re not afraid to ask questions.”
While there, she also demonstrates as often as possible the online tutoring programs that are available at no charge to library card holders. Students can access the services from any computer.
“I show them Tutor.com and I show them Brainfuse,” she said. “Because I show them, they know what to look for and they’ll actually go on and use it.”
Aria Heath, 12, a seventh-grader at Carson Middle School, was one of the first to receive her card.
“I use it for, of course, the library, and I do the live homework help,” she said. “I really like it.”
The program is modeled after a similar initiative kicked off in Salinas, Calif., to help combat the gang problem there.
The Carson City Library followed suit as part of Literacy for Life, joining the Nevada Appeal in the campaign to improve literacy in the community.
Once completed, each of the nearly 7,600 students in enrolled in the Carson City School District who want a library card will have one.
To expedite the process, library workers entered the names and contact information of all students before Sady brought the cards to the schools.
“The library staff has just moved mountains to input all of the data and make all of this happen,” said Tammy Westergard, deputy director of the library. “It’s a big effort, and it takes a lot of time.”
After the public schools have received cards, the library will then take the program to private and home schools as well.
“We want to make sure the whole educational community is celebrated,” Westergard said. “It’s going all throughout the community. The library is for everyone.”
She compared the library to a school where all kinds of information is available to anyone willing to learn.
The cards will give all students access to that information. And 8-year-old Alejandro Lepe, a student at Fritsch Elementary School who received his card Tuesday, is looking forward to that.
“We can be a little bit smarter,” he said.
Scholastic Book Fair coming to the Carson City Library
The Carson City Library will be hosting a Scholastic Book Fair, Here’s to Our Heroes – Reading Saves the Day, with specially priced books and educational products Dec. 4-11.
The fair will be open during their regular business hours in the library auditorium featuring children’s classics, award-winning titles, new releases, interactive software, adult bestsellers, and other great reads from more than 100 publishers.
Funds raised will help purchase books for the youth and young adult fiction and non-fiction book collections.
For more details and what books are available, check out the Scholastic Homepage on the library website http://www.carsoncitylibrary.org.
For more information, contact Youth Services Librarian Amber Sady at 887-2244 ext. 1012.
Hours for the Carson City Library, 900 N. Roop St., are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays; noon-6 p.m. Fridays; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays.