‘Welcome to Your Library’ program returns to SelmaPublished 5:25pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013
By Jay Sowers
The Selma Times-Journal
Giggles and cheers filled the Selma-Dallas County Public Library on Wednesday, but the loudest sound was a collective gasp that leapt from the entire Salem Elementary first class when they learned how many books they can check out at once with their new library cards.
“If your mom said you could get 20 books, you could take home 20,” Library Director Becky Nichols told the dozens of wide-eyed youngsters. “Once you get your library card, you’ll be able to come in here with your parents, or whoever takes care of you, and take home as many books as you want.”
Students from Salem Elementary were the first to take part in the library’s annual ‘Welcome to Your Library’ program, which brings first grade classes from around the county to the library in order to get each student a library card.
Nichols said that ‘Welcome to Your Library’ program, which will see 2 to 3 classes per day over six days visit the library, is one of her favorite programs the library puts on year after year.
“I think this program is top-notch, because we are putting library cards in the hands of kids whose parents might not normally have the chance to being them in,” Nichols said.
Don Willingham, who recently started his first year as the Superintendent of Dallas County Schools said the importance of getting library cards into the hands of the young students could not be overstated.
“Reading is a foundation for everything that happens from now on,” Willingham said. “If they learned to read now, and learn to like to read now, they are more likely to read forever.”
“You can see the smiles on the faces and just how happy they are to be here,” Willingham said.
Gwen Carrington, Reading Coordinator for Dallas County Schools, said the ‘Welcome to Your Library’ program is a chance for the schools to highlight the importance of reading to every student.
“We are always trying to enforce the love of reading and because this is the age where they are beginning to read,” Carrington said. “So we are wanting to instill that love of reading at a very young age so it will carry forward with them.”
Carrington said that the young students often pass their excitement for literature on to their families the moment they get home with their new library cards.
“We look forward to it every year because the parents often tell us how excited their young students are to have a library card and to be able to visit the library,” Carrington said.