Library, schools unite to get kids reading

10,000 in kindergarten, preschool to receive cards

March 22, 2004|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County library and school systems are teaming up to get library cards in the hands of nearly 10,000 kindergartners and preschoolers by later this spring.

The goal of the "My First Library Card" project is to better prepare children for school by exposing them to books and to teach their parents that it's never too early to start reading to them, said Lynn Lockwood, assistant director of the Baltimore County Public Library.

While many young children use their parents' library cards, the new cards are designed to give them a sense of ownership, said Lockwood, who coordinates the program. "We want them to have that sense that this place is for them."

Della Curtis, the school system's coordinator of the Office of Library Information Services, said she hopes the program will get parents familiar with the resources available to them at the county's public libraries.

Cards will be given to all 7,000 kindergartners in Baltimore County public schools, plus children in preschools in central and eastern Baltimore County and all children enrolled in the county's Infants and Toddlers program for preschoolers with disabilities.

Between now and April 2, participating children will receive information packets to bring home to their parents. The packets include activity sheets suggesting ways parents can get their children reading.

The cards are scheduled for distribution between May 10 and June 4, just in time to get children prepared for summer reading, Lockwood said.

The Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library is raising money to cover the unspecified cost of making the cards, said library spokesman Bob Hughes. The cards, thicker than regular library cards, are white featuring a stick figure of a child holding a book. There is space for the child's signature on the front and a parent's signature on the back.

All participating children and their parents will be invited to a "My First Library Card" celebration this spring at the North Point library branch. Starting in the summer, the cards will also be available to all children ages 6 and younger in county library branches.

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