Westlake, Bay libraries join effort to issue children's cards
For the second consecutive year, nine library systems are teaming up to help ensure every child under 18 years old in Cuyahoga County owns a library card. The initiative, called A Card for Every Kid Library Challenge, will take place during September, which is National Library Card Sign-up Month. The Challenge is a cooperative effort to raise awareness of the importance of library card ownership and to better 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 under 18 years old who already own library cards will be offered a one-time fine forgiveness anytime during National Library Card Sign-up Month.
“Every library in Cuyahoga County shares the goal of getting a library card into the hands of every child,” said Euclid Public Library Director Kacie Armstrong, co-chair of the nine-library committee leading the A Card for Every Kid Library Challenge. “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.”
Each library participating in the Challenge will invite parents to take a brief survey to gain a better understanding of parental attitudes toward library card ownership for their children. Last September, 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 include Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, East Cleveland Public Library, Euclid Public Library, Heights Libraries, Lakewood Public Library, Rocky River Public Library, Shaker Heights Public Library and Westlake Porter Public Library.